We’re a husband and wife team who’ve both been keen runners since childhood. In fact we met through running.
For a long time we’d felt there was very little kit available we really liked.
So in 2012, as London was hosting the Olympics, we gave up the security of our day jobs and started work on Iffley Road.
We wanted to create something completely different. Sportswear that looked sharp and felt wonderful to wear, but didn’t compromise on technical performance.
THE STORY OF THE 4 MINUTE MILE
Iffley Road is named after the Oxford track where Sir Roger Bannister ran the first sub four-minute mile. There is so much about that feat that inspires us.
The four-minute mile had long been considered the holy grail of middle distance running. Many believed that the human body was physically incapable of the feat. The record had stood at 4:01.04, set by Sweden’s Gunder Hägg, since 1945. But on a blustery May evening in 1954 Bannister breasted the tape at the Iffley Road track in 3:59.4, re-writing sporting history.
For Bannister, and his friends and pacemakers Chris Brasher and Chris Chataway, running was part - but not all - of their life. They were the last of the great amateurs. Tellingly all three friends continued to run for much of their lives. We love that idea of running as part of a broader healthy lifestyle. Running isn’t always about a time – however impressive that time might be.
We run, not only because we think it is doing us good, but...because it helps to do other things better. — Sir Roger Bannister
BUILDING IFFLEY ROAD
We spent our first year getting Iffley Road off the ground – a frantic round of fabric shows, factory visits and prototyping.
Eventually we went into production with just a few styles of t-shirts and shorts, launching on the 6th May 2013, on the 59th anniversary of the 4-minute mile.
The first few years of any new business are often a rollercoaster, and Iffley Road was no exception. It took us about 18 months to hit our stride. Since then we have expanded our range considerably to include waterproofs, merino tops, beanies, leggings, sweatshirts and more.
One of the great pleasures of developing Iffley Road has been the ability to collaborate with other brands we admire, including the innovative, minimalist footwear makers Vivobarefoot and iconic British clothing brand Sunspel.
So at last we feel we’re truly up and running. And, although the kit we now make is perfect for a wide range of sports and for anyone with an active lifestyle, our roots will always be in the sport we love most – running.