Tributes have flooded in for record-breaking athlete Sir Roger Bannister following his death at the age of 88.
He enlisted the aid of his training companions and friends Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher, top athletes in their own right, as pacemakers.
The official time was 3:59.4, but the only number that mattered that day was the 3.
The Oxford University versus Amateur Athletics Association fixture of May 6 was the first competition of the British season of 1954.
A giant of athletics, Sir Roger Bannister will be deeply missed by the running community.
British long-distance runner Jo Pavey, a former European champion over 10,000 metres, said Bannister was a "true hero".
"The first book I read was (Bannister's book) The Four-Minute Mile; my coach (Jimmy Hedley) used to get me to sit and watch that grainy film in the days before YouTube", said Cram.
"Remember there had been nine years of people trying to break that record, of people saying it was physiologically impossible, but he absolutely believed about what your mind can do". First athlete to break the 4-minute mile, and a brilliant neurologist for 4 decades.
To Coe, another British world record holder at the mile, Bannister's landmark achievement in 1954 "transcended sport beyond athletics".
Bannister and Landy then competed at the Empire Games, now called the Commonwealth Games, in Vancouver, British Columbia on August 9, 1954. Bannister urged Brasher to go faster and at the halfway mark called on Chataway to take over from the tiring Brasher.
"That to me is a greater source of satisfaction than happening to move my body at a certain speed for a few moments in 1954", he said in a 2012 interview with the New York Times.
The image of the young Bannister - head tilted back, eyes closed and mouth agape as he strained across the finishing tape - captured the public's imagination, made him a global celebrity and boosted the morale of Britons still suffering through austerity measures. Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco set the current world record of 3:43.13 on July 7, 1999.
Bannister was chairman of the Sports Council between 1971 and 1974, during which he developed the first test for anabolic steroids.
"This is a day of intense sadness both for our nation and for all of us in athletics", said IAAF president Lord Coe, who set the record in the mile in 1981.
"There is not a single athlete of my generation who was not inspired by Roger and his achievements both on and off the track", tweeted Coe, who won two Olympic gold medals in the 1980s. "It is very hard to break records during Olympic competition, but winning races was better than holding world records".
Bannister married Moyra Jacobsson, an artist, in 1955.
Bannister also served as master of Oxford's Pembroke College from 1985-93. They had two sons and two daughters and lived in a modest home minutes from the track where he made history.
"The world's best runners had been attempting the four-minute barrier for a quarter of a century".