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Miracle Mile

Miracle Mile

Lions Gate Road Runners invite our members and any other interested runners to join us on Thursday August 8th, 2019 for our annual celebration of the 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games “Miracle Mile”.

What: A low-key series of seeded mile races to commemorate the 64th anniversary of the 1954 Empire Games “Miracle Mile”, followed by an outdoor potluck picnic

When: Thursday August 8, 2019. Please arrive by 6pm so we can seed the races and get the first heat underway at 6:30pm

Where: Balaclava Park running track, 30th Ave and Balaclava St, Vancouver

RSVP: If you plan to attend please email Leo Lam with an estimated mile time for seeding

Bring: Please bring a non-perishable snack for the potluck picnic

Relay: We plan to organise a 4 x 440 yard relay for anyone who is interested after the mile races.


Miracle Mile 1954, Bannister and Landy
1954 Miracle Mile

In August of 1954 athletes from across the British Empire gathered in Vancouver to contest the 5th British Empire and Commonwealth Games. The mile race was promoted by the press as the “Miracle Mile”. It would feature Roger Bannister (England) and John Landy (Australia), the only two men to have broken the four minute “barrier” for the mile at that time.

The Empire Games running track was in the newly constructed Empire Stadium, (today demolished).

But this is not Empire Stadium or even the UBC track, where hundreds of spectators and press gathered daily to watch Landy’s training sessions. We are at a quiet tree-lined park with a well-kept cinder track, out of the eyes of the public, to which Bannister and a couple of team mates escaped for his pre-race time trials. The press wrote that they “slid out of camp with collars turned up and in dark glasses to train”. Their secret training location was Balaclava Park.

Bannister went on to win the Empire Games mile, famously overtaking while Landy was glancing over his shoulder in the other direction.

To commemorate the anniversary of the Empire Games mile race, Lions Gate Road Runners invite our members and any other interested runners to join us in our version of the Miracle Mile at Balaclava Park. We will run on the same track Roger Bannister used for his pre-race time trials in 1954.

The original track is still here. Not so well maintained, more of a dirt surface than cinders, with grass encroaching onto lane one, but still a genuine 440 yard running track. It is extremely unlikely that any of us could even remotely approach Bannister’s training times, but we meet for this low key event to celebrate the anniversary of the “Miracle Mile” and to enjoy a social outdoor gathering on a summer evening.