Guy Learmonth wants to repay the support of his backers at Lasswade Athletics Club by beating the odds and reaching the final of the World Athletics Championships.
The 25-year-old starts his London bid this afternoon in the heats of the 800 metres after smashing his personal best at the Olympic Stadium only three weeks ago to book his berth.
But he’ll be cheered to the rafters back in Bonnyrigg where they’ve seen the former rugby player grow from a raw recruit down the local track to a major championship finalist.
“It’s my second home,” Learmonth said. “Lots of my family is still there. My Uncle Andy Sobik was involved with Lasswade so he dragged me a long there from an early age.
“I started at Dunbar AC but I moved and I’ve had so much support from Lasswade. And it’s nice to wear their colours and represent them here.”
Missing out on the showpiece of the worlds would have been a massive blow, he admits, especially with 15 other Scots getting the call into the British team. The development system has won praise at the highest levels of the sport and there is a momentum growing, Learmonth says.
“It feels great. There is something in the Scottish water or air. It’s incredible to be a part of Scottish athletics golden era and hopefully it continues for a long long time. Looking forward to Gold Coast next year, I think we’ll do some serious damage.”
With Kenyan legend David Rudisha out injured, the gold is up for grabs in Learmonth’s event but his best time marks him as an outside shot for the final. But that won’t stop me giving it my all, he insists.
“I’m aiming for the final. I’ve always been an underdog. Even this year, people didn’t expect me to be there, especially on my early season form. It’s going to be hard to get to the final but I’ll work to get through the heats and then the semi. I’ll have a warrior mindset – kill or be killed. I won’t be surprised if I get there.”
His fellow Scot Beth Potter goes in tonight’s 10,000 metres final while Callum Hawkins will head home hopes in tomorrow’s marathon.