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Weir breaks world record at the Bupa Westminster Mile

by Press Release
Saturday 24th May 2014

Race report: The Bupa Westminster Mile - Saturday, May 24, 2014

David Weir produced the fastest wheelchair road mile in history at the second Bupa Westminster Mile festival of mile racing in central London today.

After a morning of steady rain, the six-times London Marathon winner was blessed with dry roads this afternoon as he flew around the course, which skirts St James’s Park in the heart of Westminster to cross the finish line in front of Buckingham Palace in three minutes seven seconds, beating the time of 3:09 he clocked to win last year.

Racing solo from the start, and negotiating the route’s tight bends, Weir fell just short of the three-minute barrier he had targeted to mark the official 60th anniversary of the first sub-four-minute mile run by Sir Roger Bannister in 1954.

The great man himself was there to greet Weir once his racing chair had come to a halt near the Queen Victoria Memorial at the top of The Mall.

“It was wonderful to see him get so close,” said Sir Roger, who presented Weir with his winner’s medal. “I think he’ll do it next year.”

Sir Roger Bannister presented David Weir with his winner’s medal

Photo: Sir Roger Bannister presented David Weir with his winner’s medal

Weir duly retained his British Athletics men’s wheelchair road mile title he won 12 months ago, beating Japan’s Kota Hokinoue by 22 seconds, and vowed to be back next year to launch another attack on the three-minute barrier.

“I gave it my best shot and I wasn’t too far off,” said Weir, who clinched the fourth of his quartet of London 2012 Paralympic gold medals when he won the wheelchair marathon on these same streets two years ago. I knew I was in good shape because I’ve done tons and tons of speed work,” he said. “But it was just a bit tough here on the turns. If it was a straight mile, I would have gone under easily.

“The changeable conditions made it hard too. I didn’t know if it was going to rain or not. I was planning for the wet and then it was dry. But it was such an honour to meet Sir Roger and it would have been great to have broken three minutes in front of him. I’ll be back next year to give it another go.”

The 34-year-old’s achievement was also witnessed by double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah, who was present as an event ambassador and started some of the 31 races for younger athletes, which formed part of the world’s biggest festival of mile racing.

In the senior races, it was Scotland’s Chris O’Hare who left with the inaugural Sir Roger Bannister trophy as winner of the British Athletics men’s road mile title, while 800m specialist Alison Leonard won the senior women’s race for the Diane Leather trophy, named after the first woman to run a mile in under five minutes, also 60 years ago.

The event, organised by The London Marathon in partnership with Westminster City Council, featured races for all ages and abilities.

For more information on the Bupa Westminster Mile visit: www.bupawestminstermile.co.uk


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