In 1945 the world record for running the mile was set at 4:01.4. Despite repeated attempts, that mark held for 9 years. Many people believed that this was the limit of human performance, and that breaking the 4-minute barrier would be impossible.
Then in on a windy spring day in1954 Roger Banister stunned the world by clocking a 3:59.4. It is regarded as one of the most impressive athletic performances in the history of sports.
Once Bannister had proven what was possible, the floodgates opened. Less than 2 months later John Landy ran a 3:57.9 (nobody remembers the second person to do something), and within 3 years the sub-4 club had an amazing 16 members.
I would like to introduce you to another barrier breaker. His name is Guido Muller; he is from Germany and his age is 70. I started to write that he was “70 years old”, but given what he has accomplished, using the word “old” just didn’t seem right.
Guido also competes in track and field, and is something of a legend in masters sprints and hurdles. But what he did this year has earned him a place among the all-time greats. He too broke a record many thought was impossible. And unlike Bannister’s sub-4 mile, I don’t think there will be many others joining Guido anytime soon.
At a meet in Germany, he won both the 100 meter and the 200 meter sprints. But it is what he did en route to winning the 400 meters that earned him his spot in history. He became the first man over the age of 70 to break the one-minute barrier, clocking an amazing 59.67.
If you have any background in running track, you know just how difficult this is, regardless of your age. It’s one full lap around the track….at pretty close to a full sprint. If you’re more familiar with running on a treadmill, this equates to 15 mph… faster than our treadmills can even go!