World records fell at the Vitality Westminster Mile on Sunday (27 May) but they were for the level of participation and a Guinness World Record rather than conventional athleticism on a muggy day in central London.
A total of 8,048 runners in 39 races completed the picturesque course around St James’s Park to finish in front of Buckingham Palace, smashing the previous world record of 7,664 set at the New York Fifth Avenue Mile last year, making Vitality Westminster Mile the biggest ever timed mile in the world.
The world record numbers were a fitting tribute to Sir Roger Bannister, the most famous miler of all, who died in March this year aged 88, nearly 62 years after running the world's first sub-four minute mile. Sir Roger’s name adorns the British men’s mile trophy won for the second time by Chris O’Hare (Edinburgh, 4:04) from Charles Da'vall Grice (Brighton Phoenix, 4:04) and Elliot Giles (Birchfield, 4:05).
O’Hare, who made the decisive move in the final 400m, said: “I don’t care about the time, to be honest”, after adding this year's British title to his victory in 2014. “I just made it my job to win against such a great field. And now I get to hold the Sir Roger Bannister Trophy. When I heard he’d died I couldn’t stop thinking about him all day. He changed the game for all of us. It’s an honour to win the trophy this year.”
There was another tight finish in the women’s race, won by Commonwealth bronze medallist Melissa Courtney (Poole, 4:35) ahead of training partners Sarah McDonald (Birchfield, 4:36) and Rosie Clarke (Epsom & Ewell, 4:38). “It’s going really well this year,” said Courtney. “Being a Commonwealth medallist has raised my expectations and to win my first title in this fantastic race really sets me up for the outdoor season.”
The elite British Championship races were just part of the day-long festival of running that attracted people aged from two months to 92 years from all running backgrounds. The first record fell to Dani Nimmock and her husband Mark Burgess who crossed the line hand-in-hand to set a Guinness World Record for the fastest mile run while holding hands. The Essex couple sprinted across the line in 5:24, almost a minute inside the old mark set here last year, before receiving their certificate from GWR adjudicator Richard Stenning.
“We’re really happy to have broken 5:30 – we thought we could but you never know what will happen on the day,” said Dani, a London Marathon Events Ltd staff member and winner of the 2018 Manchester Marathon. “It feels amazing to have set a Guinness World Record – it’s the only world record we’ll ever set together. I can’t wait to put the certificate on our wall.”
Olympic legend and British mile record holder, Sir Mo Farah, started the 12 Family Miles and jogged the final wave in around six minutes, giving a number of lucky youngsters an unforgettable opportunity to #RunWithMo.
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for a link to the full results