ATHLETICS: TUESDAY’s 60th anniversary of the first four minute mile has been concentrating minds in Thurrock.

The time remains a huge landmark milestone in any athlete’s career. Harriers stalwart David Staines said: “In the Harriers 65-year history only one person has achieved this mark.

He was Barry Smith who recorded 3m59.4s in 1976. “Later Barry moved to Gateshead with his job and here he ran a second faster and made it to the Olympic 5k semi final. “He also broke the British 10k record,” added Staines.

Since the year 2000, Neil Bangs, from Aveley, has been capable of coming very close to this mark as was Grays-based James Guest a decade earlier.

The metric equivalent of a 4 minute mile is running the 1500m in 3m42s.

At present James Shane from Basildon is the only runner in the county capable of this achievement.