Chris O’Hare was today preparing to fly back to the USA with a silver medal from the European Indoor Championships – and a new spring in his step.
The 28-year-old from West Linton produced a tenacious final fling to snatch runners-up spot in Saturday’s 3000 metres final away from Henrik Ingebrigtsen by three-thousands of a second, with both trailing home the Norwegian’s 18-year-old brother Jakob.
It was a tale of redemption for O’Hare, who revealed he almost quit last summer following a third successive season without a major medal and a string of disappointments that threw his motivation into doubt.
But after specialising in the mile and 1500m for almost his entire career since coming through the ranks at Edinburgh AC, O’Hare admits his success in his debut tilt at 3000 has now given him options for the summer campaign outdoors, and beyond.
“Maybe I will consider doing both 400m and 800m,” he joked. “No, 1500m and 5000m. I love the 3000, it is enjoyable. The 1500 can be hard sometimes because it is not always the hardest, the toughest and the strongest who wins it or gets the medal. People who didn’t necessarily go for the win can pick up ten guys in the home straight.
“The 3000 and the 5000 are the toughest and it is the strongest on the day who gets rewarded more often than not. So, it is a bit more predictable – and that is nice.”
O’Hare, whose previous European indoor medal was a 1500m bronze in 2015, will plot his future from his base in Oklahoma as he prepares for the arrival of his second child this summer.
And there is nothing to be disappointed about missing out on gold on home soil, he said, with Norway’s teen prince showing he is already Europe’s middle-distance king.
“With Jakob in races now it feels like there’s only two medals left,” he said. “The guy is incredible so I am happy to split up the Ingebrigtsens and it is good just to be back on the medal podium.
“It has been four years if not more since I have been on a podium and it has been a hell of a four years. I wouldn’t change it, it has made me the person I am. And hopefully this is another step forward.”
Meanwhile Lasswade’s Guy Learmonth admits he faces tough choices about his own future after a self-inflicted disappointment in Glasgow.
The Great Britain and Northern Ireland team captain was sent hurtling to the track during the 800m semis while trying to dart through a small gap.
“I’m devastated,” declared the 26-year-old. “I had to take a moment after the race to get myself together.”
But after spending the past two years training near his parent’s home in Berwick and using a towpath along the River Tweed as his track, Learmonth has acknowledged what many in the sport have privately declared – that he might need a more formal set-up to realise his full potential.
“I said to my coach Henry Gray, even last summer, how I don’t train on a track. I train on the roads. That’s a great story in itself. But sometimes when I get on the track, I don’t know what to do.
“That sounds crazy. But it comes when I’m running around bends and running past people around me, which I don’t do normally. I get in difficult situations and difficult positions and it’s unknown to me.
“If I’m in Diamond Leagues or top races when I get on the back of people and have a clean run, then I run my best because that’s how I train. But that’s a big part of it.”