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  Diane Charles 6 May 2004  
The first female runner to complete a mile in less than five minutes

50 years ago today Roger Bannister sped into the history books as the first runner to complete a mile in less than four minutes, helped by his pacemakers, Christophers Brasher and Chataway.  

Days later, in a different city, a different runner set another record. On May 29 th 1954 , Diane  Leather became the first female runner to complete a mile in less than five minutes, clocking in a time of 4 minutes, 59.6 seconds - done without the benefit of a pacemaker.

Her performance was not classified as a world record, because in the 1950s the world athletics federation did not recognise women running anything more than 200m. Leather had to accept the slightly less satisfying title of 'world best'. But Diane - now Diane Charles - and her husband Peter, look back on that time with Alison Johns.

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