JOHN Howorth has already enjoyed the best season of his young career but now he has topped it all by becoming a member of an elite club – the sub-four minute milers.

Competing in the TO5 Soar miles at Birmingham University, 21-year-old Howorth from Hilperton was one of six young British runners to dip inside the magical barrier, finishing fourth in a time of 3mins 59.59secs and becoming the first ever Wiltshire athlete to achieve the feat.

That’s just a whisker slower than Sir Roger Bannister achieved when he created that historic moment at Oxford’s Iffley Road track in 1954 with 3:59.04.

“I was umming and aahing about whether to run a mile but my mum convinced me to do it because she said you just don’t know what might happen next year,” said Howorth.

“So, while I am starting to feel a little physically and mentally tired I decided to give it a crack and I am over the moon with how it went.

“Before this season I would have said that sounded really far-fetched - running under four minutes for the mile just feels like a lifetime achievement.”

Howorth admitted he felt lethargic on the start line and didn’t feel great after the opening lap. But from then on things started to click into place.

“I started to find my rhythm and when the race started to slow a bit I decided to hit the front hard with 450 metres remaining,” added Howorth.

“I reached the bell in around 3mins 02/3secs so I knew I needed a 57 seconds last lap to get under four minutes. I just managed to pull it out although in that last 200 metres it really started to bite. I probably went too early but I broke four minutes so I can’t complain at all.”

Howorth plans a few low-key 800m races before ending his season but there is no doubt that this has been the best summer of his career so far.

Starting the campaign with a personal best of 3:51.38 for 1500m he improved to 3:44.53 then 3:41.13 and finally 3:39.85, leaving him 19th in the UK Rankings and second quickest outdoors in the South West. It was also the second quickest time ever run by a Wiltshire athlete behind Chippenham’s Dave Bishop.

Furthermore, he finished sixth in the final of the England Under 23 Championships and for the first time qualified for the Muller British Championships incorporating the Olympic trials.

“This season has exceeded my expectations beyond belief, one hundred per cent,” said Howorth.