“The Miracle Mile,” by Jason Beck, Curator and Facility Director of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. (Contributed)

How ‘The Miracle Mile’ impacted Surrey residents

Author’s talk to explore impact of the 1954 Commonwealth Games in a local context

The 1954 British Empire and Commonwealth Games went down in history for the now-famous “Miracle Mile,” a legendary showdown between the first two male athletes to run a mile in under four minutes.

England’s Roger Bannister and Australia’s John Landy had broken the four-minute mark earlier that year, and the race at the newly built Empire Stadium in Vancouver was the first time they met face to face.

In the last 90 yards of the race, Landy glanced over his left shoulder to check Bannister’s position. At that very moment, Bannister sped up and took Landy on the right, racing ahead for a winning finish of 3:58.8, a Commonwealth record.

Curator and Facility Director of B.C.’s Sports Hall of Fame Jason Beck will be presenting his book The Miracle Mile on Saturday, Feb. 10 at the Cloverdale Library, and drawing attention to the impact that the games had on local residents.

The world press focused in on Vancouver for the duration of the games, but there were many memorable moments for Surrey residents as well.

For instance, did you know that Prince Philip drove through Surrey on his way to the rowing events? Or that Canada’s world champion weightlifter Doug Hepburn, who would later live in Surrey, won a gold medal and was declared one of the strongest men of the world during the games?

The author’s talk, which is hosted by the Surrey Archives, will include archival photos, video and “many remarkable stories from those games [that had] been lost or forgotten,” according to Beck.

The free presentation will take place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10 at the Cloverdale Library, 5642 176A St. It is open to anyone above 13 years of age.

Please pre-register for the event by calling the Surrey Archives at 604-502-6459 or by going to www.surrey.ca/heritage and registering with course code 4566455.


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