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Spring Edition
Volume 97, Number 4


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Douglas Miller
Four minutes that changed history

My summers are typically filled with an eclectic mix of reading, but there’s no mistaking the added shot of adrenaline released each time I reach for one of those remarkable stories of athletic feats that have redefined human experience.

Roger Bannister’s The Four-Minute Mile describes a truly exceptional moment in history, when he became the first person to break the four-minute mile barrier—a barrier frozen at 4:01 for 10 years because of the general perception at the time that a sub-four-minute mile was humanly impossible. Of that moment, Bannister writes: “It was intensity of living, joy in struggle, freedom in toil, satisfaction at the mental and physical cost.”

That windy Oxford day in 1954 may have culminated his journey, but it only begins ours, as this captivating book compels us to ask, “What hidden potential is lurking in me, just waiting to be mobilized?” One’s hidden potential may be physical, intellectual, or spiritual, but as we “joyfully struggle” to achieve it, we move closer to the abundant wholeness God intends for each of us.

Our quest to break through personal barriers is never a solo journey, and Bannister appropriately recognizes the significant contributions of others in his accomplishment. In so doing, he reminds all of us that in life there is no such thing as a truly personal triumph.

—Douglas Miller is a professor of exercise physiology.

Douglas Miller joined the Messiah College faculty 27 years ago. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 1992. Miller appreciates that Messiah creates an environment where the classroom can become a vehicle for both intellectual and spiritual growth. He says, “It’s an incredible privilege to work with students who truly desire to see God in all of life—including the design of the human body!”

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