Why Doom-Scroll When So Much is Possible?

Roger Bannister on May 6, 1954

The first professional one-mile race was held in London on July 26, 1855. Charles Westhall won with a time of 4 minutes and 28 seconds. Over the next 90 years, the time was slowly but surely whittled down to 4:01.4 by Sweden’s Gunder Hagg on July 17, 1945.

Nine years later, on May 6, 1954, England’s Roger Bannister did the “impossible.” He ran a 3:59.4 mile. The following month, the “impossible” was done again. John Landy of Australia ran a 3:58 mile on June 21, 1954.

Within a year, we had three runners breaking the four-minute barrier in the same race.

The current mile world record holder is Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco with a time of 3:43.13. As of this writing, about 20 male high school runners have accomplished the “impossible.”

So, what changed since July 17, 1945?

Some may point to training or nutrition and perhaps they play a recent role. But remember, Bannister made history in 1954 and his record was smashed just 46 days later. So, yeah… it’s more than training and nutrition.

Could it be that once we choose to envision the possible instead of fixating on the impossible, our power is released? If so, where can we effectively focus this power today?


(FYI: The women’s record is 4:12:33 — run by Sifan Hassan of The Netherlands.)

Mickey Z. is the creator of a podcast called Post-Woke. You can subscribe here. He is also the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on New York City streets. Spread the word. Read other articles by Mickey.