No, there was no four-minute barrier

~ 07 May 2004 ~

“We can’t all be heroes because somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by.”  –Will Rogers

Without heroes, who would warrant our applause?

I hold numerous heroes and heroines in high respect. I applaud their accomplishments and welcome the inspiration they exude.

One of these heroes is the legendary Roger Bannister. Yesterday marked an historic event—the 50th anniversary of Roger Bannister’s four-minute mile; 3:59.4 in timed precision.

More important than triumph over the fourth minute, however, is the shattering of a seemingly insurmountable barrier; one that was perceived as physical yet, in reality, existed merely in the minds of human beings and not on the track on which they ran.

Within only two months of the first four-minute mile, John Landy broke Bannister’s record, further proving the barrier was far more psychological than physical.

In fact, within only two months of the first four-minute mile, John Landy broke Bannister’s record, further proving the barrier was far more psychological than physical. Countless others followed in the ensuing years.

How incredibly inspiring.

How it inspires me to realize most of the barriers that hold me back from fulfilling my greatest dreams are quite often perceived barriers, as intangible as the air we breathe.

The record today? Just under 3:45. May we safely say, then, that “No, there was no four-minute barrier”? Absolutely.

In tribute, the Authentic Boredom masthead will carry Roger’s name and barrier-shattering record through May 13. His accomplishment deserves a lifetime of gratitude from myself and (hopefully) others. Thank you, Roger.


1. A targeted Google search yields a wealth of related information.
2. In case you’re listening, Roger, I own and .org. I’d love to offer the domains for a worthy cause.


Veer Veer: Visual Elements for Creatives.
Stock photography, type, and killer tees. Genuinely recommended by Authentic Boredom.

1   Phoat ~ 07 May 2004 at 02:21 AM

I couldn’t agree with you more. We all live with mental barriers everyday making us say things like, “I wish I could do that.” Truth of the matter is, we all can, we just have to have the disipline and the strength of mind to overcome ourselves.

You and all the Roger Bannister’s of the world are a great inspiration to everyone. Thanks for making people like me realize our potential.

2   Ryan Sims ~ 07 May 2004 at 08:42 AM

Between this post and Skinny J’s latest post, I feel like I just ended a therapy session. Great articles, guys!


Authentic Boredom is the platitudinous web home of Cameron Moll, freelance new media designer, author, and speaker. More…

Come in, we're hiring

Full-time and freelance job opportunities. Post a job...

...view all jobs »


A selection of fine reading, available for a limited time only:

In Print

CSS Mastery CSS Mastery: Advanced Web Standard Solutions A solid round-up of indispensable CSS design techniques by Andy Budd, Simon Collison, and Cameron Moll.

Mobile Web Design Mobile Web Design A guide to publishing web content beyond the desktop. Tips, methodology, and resources. Now available.


Letterpress Posters Letterpress Posters The unassuming beauty of a freshly letterpressed print.

Wicked Worn That Wicked Worn Look. Techniques for that worn, aged, distressed look.

Mister Retro Mister Retro Machine Wash Filters Turn the dial to “Instaworn” with these filters.

Blinksale Blinksale Dive in and enjoy shamelessly easy invoicing from Firewheel Design.

Basecamp Basecamp My preferred web app for internal and client project collaboration.


HOW Conference HOW Conference Austin, June 24–27. Pentagram, Adobe, P&G, et al.

Web Design World Web Design World Seattle, July 20–22. Practical sessions on web design.

An Event Apart Stimulate Salt Lake City, September 2009. Entrepreneurship and design conference.

Feed Me
Articles: RSS
Linkage: RSS

Follow me: Twitter