What is the Emsley Carr Mile?

The Emsley Carr Mile is a one-mile, or 1,609-metre, running race for men, entry to which is by invitation only. The race has been run annually in Britain since 1953, when it was inaugurated by Sir William Carr, in memory of his late father, Sir Emsley Carr, who had been editor of the ‘News of the World’ newspaper for 50 years between 1891 and his death in 1941.

The Emsley Carr Mile was conceived at a time when several athletes, notably Australian John Landy, had come agonisingly close to achieving the elusive four-minute mile. However, by the time of the second renewal, Sir Roger Bannister had already set his historic world record of 3:59.4. In fact, the first athlete to break the four-minute barrier in the Emsley Carr Mile was the 1956 winner, Derek Ibbotson, who would go on to set a world record of 3:57.2 the following year.

Until 1969, the Emsley Carr Mile was run, exclusively, at the now demolished White City Stadium in London, but has subsequently been run at various venues around the country, including Crystal Palace in London, Gateshead Stadium in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and, more recently, Olympic Stadium in London.

Historically, famous British middle-distance runners to win the Emsley Carr Mile include David Moorcroft, Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett and Peter Elliott, but the last Briton to win was former European junior champion Jake Wightman in 2017. In 2000, Hicham El Guerrouj, who was, and still is, the world record holder for the men’s mile, ran the fastest ever Emsley Carr Mile, in a time of 3:45.96; the Moroccan athlete returned to Crystal Palace to win the race again in 2001 and 2002.