Breaking the 4 Minute Mile
By Bree Bowman
For more than 100 years, runners tried to break the 4
minute mile. It was considered the “Holy Grail” of track and field. Many said
it couldn’t be done. In fact, doctors wrote articles in medical journals
explaining why it was physically impossible for the human body to run a mile in
less than 4 minutes. However, in May 1954, a British medical student named Roger
Banister ran the mile in 3.59.4.
His amazing accomplishment made headlines around the world.
Yet what happened afterwards is even more amazing. The 4 minute mile was
broken again the next month. And the again . . . . And then again . . . . It
has since been broken more than 700 times, sometimes by several people in the
same race. What happened? The runners weren’t training any differently. There
were no medical miracles. Red Bull hadn’t been invented yet! So what changed?
For the 1st time, they believed it could be done.
Roger Banister had shown them that it could be done. The barriers to the
mind had come down. Roger Banister set an example. He was a role model.
His leadership was an inspiration. In fact, isn’t that what we have
here tonight? A room full of leadership and inspiration?
In the Eagle Scout charge during your Court of Honor, you
heard the obligations of an Eagle Scout: To live with Honor, to be
Loyal, to be Courageous, to be Cheerful and to help others.
To lead by example and be an inspiration. You are all here because you
have all broken your own 4 minute miles! Like Roger Banister, you started by
believing with all your heart that it was possible. You moved from, “I can do
it,” to, “I will do it,” to, “I did it!” Doesn’t it feel great to have the
heart of a champion?
So we are gathered here tonight to celebrate your success,
but this is not just about the past and what you have done, but about the
future and what we all know you will do. You are Eagle Scouts! And not
just Eagle Scouts, but the leaders and providers of inspiration for your
own generation and for generations to come.