Diane Leather (born 7
January 1933, Streetly, West Midlands) is the first woman to
run a mile in less than 5 minutes.
Representing the Birchfield Harriers, Leather broke the 5
minute barrier with a time of 4 minutes and 59.6 seconds on 29 May
1954 during the Midlands Women's AAA
Championships at Birmingham's Alexander Stadium.
Coincidentally, this feat occurred just 23
days after Roger Bannister
the first ever man to run a sub 4 minute
. In 1955, Diane broke the mile record by a further 15
seconds, leaving her personal best of 4:45. This mile record
remained untouched for a further 7 years until Marise Chamberlain
ran a 4:41.4 in 1962.
It was not until after 1967 that the IAAF started recognising women
world records at this distance.
Leather is now known by her married name of Diane
progression for the mile run