ROBERT Howorth won’t forget his 21st birthday celebrations in a hurry.

With lockdown limiting his options of marking that milestone in a more traditional fashion, the Hilperton runner opted for a 1500m race instead making the short journey from his student digs to the track in Cardiff for the Welsh Athletics Elite Endurance Series last week.

The result was a proper champagne moment as Howorth not only broke four minutes for the first time, a landmark for any decent club athlete, but also did so in tremendous style as he slashed almost five seconds off his personal best.

“Racing the 1500m wasn’t my original plan for my 21st to be sure!” said Howorth. “But my coach (James Thie) bribed me with some cake to have a go. And with the pubs in Wales still closed there wasn’t much else on!”

So Howorth lined up in a small field and followed his coach’s instructions to the letter, starting steadily and then unleashing his speed with a strong finish to cross the line in a speedy 3mins 56.94secs, smashing his three-year-old best of 4:01.31.

“It was an old PB but to be fair since then I have usually one run one 1500m at the start of each season as I focused on the 800m,” added Howorth.

“I assumed a sub-four minutes time would happen, but nonetheless I was delighted to run so quick. I also know that because of how I ran the race I am sure I can go a lot quicker.

“Anyway, it set me up nicely for some celebrations later on that evening!”

Having previously focused on the 800m, Howorth can now see his future at the longer distance. After not racing at all last summer, he will be going all out to get as close to 3:50mins this season.

And if he breaks that barrier as well, Howorth will have good reason to launch another round of celebrations.