The running shoes used to set one of the greatest milestones in sports history are going up for sale.
lightweight leather spikes worn by Roger Bannister when he broke the
4-minute mile in 1954 will go on the block on September 10 in London at
Christie's auction house.
Christie's said Wednesday the shoes are expected to fetch between £30 000 and £50 000.
The shoes, made by GT Law and Son, had long, thin spikes and weighed 4½ ounces, much lighter than other shoes at the time.
served me great purpose," Bannister said in the Christie's
announcement. "I'm grateful to them. I think it's the right time to part
Bannister, a young medical student at the time,
became the first runner to break the fabled 4-minute barrier when he
clocked 3:59.4 on May 6, 1954, at the Iffley Road Track
in Oxford. It was a record that many had thought humanly impossible at
Bannister, who was knighted in 1975, is now 86 and lives
in Oxford with his wife, Moyra. He is coping with the effects of
The shoes will be offered for sale along with a
"letter of provenance" signed by Bannister and a letter written to him
prior to the race denoting "the lightness" of the shoes.
see there was an advantage in having the shoes as light as possible,"
Bannister said. "The leather is extremely thin and the spikes are
unusually thin, as I used a grindstone to make them even thinner. These
shoes are the last tangible link I have with the 4-minute mile."
the morning of the race, Bannister sharpened his spikes on a grindstone
in the laboratory at St. Mary's Hospital in London, where he was
Bannister's trophies are on display at Oxford's Pembroke College, where he served as master.
said he plans to donate part of the proceeds from the auction to the
Autonomic Charitable Trust, which encourages neurological research. He
devoted most of his medical career to the study of neurological
"Other worthwhile causes in which I have an interest will also benefit," Bannister said.