Best runners ever - Part 1

Roger Bannister
Roger Bannister breaking the world mile record and the four-minute barrier in Oxford
Known as the first individual to beat the four-minute mile, Roger Bannister is a household name. Born in England in 1929, Roger was clocked at a mile in 3 minutes and 59.4 seconds. His record lasted 46 days. Most notably, he achieved this feat with little training and while in medical practice as a junior MD. He went on to become a distinguished Oxford neurologist.

Katherine Switzer
Katherine Switzer holds the title as the first female to enter the Boston marathon. Her endeavor was fraught with challenge. In 1967, Switzer entered and completed the marathon five years before women were officially allowed to compete. Finishing in 4 hours and 20 minutes, Switzer was challenged mid-race when race official Jock Semple physically tried to remove her. Her boyfriend Tom Miller shoved Semple aside in order to allow her to continue running. After this run the Amateur Athletic Union barred women from competing with male runners until 1972, when women were finally officially allowed to run in the Boston marathon.

Kenenisa Bekele
Germany Athletics Worlds
Kenenisa Bekele hails from Ethiopia and holds five world records, including the 5,000- and 10,000-meter Olympic events. He is the most accomplished runner in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, and he became the first man to win both of these events at the same championships. Considered one of the greatest long-distance runners of all time, he is a name that will not be soon forgotten.

Bryan Clay
Born January 3, 1980, Clay is America’s foremost decathlete, and is the reigning Olympic champion for the decathlon, as well as the world champion in 2005. Since 2002, Bryan Clay has been commonly ranked as one of the top two athletes in the United States decathlon. In 2008, Bryan Clay won the gold medal and was named winner of the USA Track & Field’s 008 Jesse Owens Award and the U.S. Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News.

Haile Gebrselassie
Born in 1973, Haile Gebrselassie is an Ethiopian long-distance runner. He holds the title of one of three of the most accomplished living runners. Gebrselassie won the Berlin Marathon four times in a row, the Dubai Marathon three times in a row, two Olympic gold medals over 10,000 meters, and four World Championship titles in the event. He has broken 61 Ethiopian national records, set 27 world records, and in 2008 set the world record marathon time (which stood for 3 years) at 2:03:59.

Paula Radcliffe
Paula Radcliffe is a British runner born in 1973. She is the current women’s record holder in the marathon, finishing with an unbeaten time of 2:15:25. Paula has won the London and New York marathons a whopping three times each, and won the Chicago Marathon in 2002. Shockingly, Paula had to overcome asthma and anemia as a child in order to grow up to become one of the most notable names in marathon running. For her achievements, Paula has been inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame.

Michael Johnson
Michael Johnson is a professional American athlete who set the record 400 meter event with a time of 43.18 seconds in 1999. This record still stands today. Specializing in sprint running, Johnson also won a gold medal in the 1992 Olympics in the 4x400 relay, double gold in the 400 and 200 meter during the 1996 Olympics, and gold in the 400 meter at the 2000 Olympics. He has also picked up an impressive eight World Championship gold medals.

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