Chris O’Hare (Edinburgh AC) flies back to his Boston base today confident that his training has been going well in preparation for some big indoor 1500 metres and one mile races in the USA next month before he returns to the UK for the Birmingham Grand Prix.
He may have been only tenth in the men’s International 4K race at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country in Holyrood Park on Saturday, but he insisted his performance in the wintry conditions bodes well for the coming indoor track season.
“I wanted to get out there and have a bit of fun but not in conditions like that – it wasn’t funny,” said the 24-year-old European 1500m bronze medallist, who struggled in the mud.
“It was as horrible as it looked – so heavy underfoot and getting any sort of traction was a nightmare,” said O’Hare.
“Some are suited to running in the mud but I’m one of those who isn’t, though 4k is an okay sort of distance and it shows me what work needs to be done.”
Interestingly O’Hare, sixth in the Glasgow 2014 1500 final at Hampden last August, still got his revenge on Commonwealth champion Kenya’s James Magut with Silas Kiplagat (Kenya) and top American star Bernard Lagat also finishing behind him.
“Lagat was behind me and I’m sure it’s not going to stop him doing well on the track and it won’t stop me either,” said O’Hare, who will give the Sainsbury’s Grand Prix meeting in Glasgow on January 24 a miss.
The 4K winner was Garrett Heath (USA) who surged away from the field to repeat last year’s win, with only Kenya’s Japheth Korir making any real attempt to stay with him.
Heath’s time was 12:11 with Korir second (12:19), Dathan Ritzenheim (USA) third (12:27) and O’Hare timed at 12.46.
Another American, Chris Derrick, was an impressive winner of the men’s 8k race in which the top Scot was Andrew Butchart (Central) in 16th, and fifth counter for GB, with Kilbarchan’s Callum Hawkins 19th.
Ross Matheson (Lasswade) proved a worthy partner for Glasgow University star Laura Muir in the new 2 x 1000m mixed relay, holding onto third place after Muir had handed over slightly in the lead.
There was a shock in the women’s 6k race with victory going to Emelia Gorecka (GB) from Ireland’s Fionnuala Britton second and European champion Gemma Steel (GB) fading to 11th.
Scotland’s Rosie Smith was 27th but how the absent Rhona Auckland (Edinburgh University), back in Banchory recovering from flu, who beat Gorecka on her way to the European Under-23 title in Bulgaria last month, must have reflected on the might-have-beens.
The two women’s races on Saturday suffered the worst of the weather with driving snow greeting Gorecka as she pushed for home.
If anything it was even worse for Morag MacLarty (Central) who won the Scottish women’s inter-district race to announce another comeback to the top flight.