22 July 2014
Chris O’Hare battled his way to a 3.35.06 personal best in a thrilling 1500m race at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix at Hampden Park on the 12 July, but the Scot was adamant it provided him with a steep learning curve he prepares for a home Commonwealth Games .
In a race won by Kenyan Silas Kiplagat, who coincidently won’t compete at the Commonwealth Games, O’Hare and three other Brits smashed their personal bests. Fellow Scot and reigning European Junior Champion Jake Wightman and Sainsbury’s British Champion Charlie Grice were both within a second of O’Hare at the Diamond league event, and will provide him with stiff competition when the trio resume take to the Hampden track again next week.
Despite the lifetime best performance, the 23 year old World Championship finalist knows he could have gone even faster.
“It could have gone a bit better if I had run smarter and not tried to win. I was maybe a little naïve. I always want to try and win the race, no matter who is in it and that can be a problem!
“If I had been trying to run for a time from the outset I would maybe had planned beforehand to have gone with 200m to go but instead I went from 300m. Maybe if I had waited a little in the pack and gone with 200m, the time could have been even faster.”
O’Hare also admitted that the Hampden roar may have influenced his decision making in the race and how he will look to learn from on his return.
“The crowd were amazing – I think they gave me a bit of adrenaline a little too quickly! I came up on the shoulder of the leaders with 300m to go and I got a bit excited and went too early maybe.
“However that is part of it and you have to learn to deal with the crowd and not let them influence your moves. I know I’ll have to learn that for the Commonwealth’s because it’s going to be significantly louder then. I need to use the crowd but make sure I use them to my advantage.”
That is not to say O’Hare was disappointed with his performance. After the injuries he had at the start of the season and the hamstring issues which kept him out of the Sainsbury’s British Championships in June, he was encouraged to have run a personal best.
“At the start of the season when I was having problems with my hamstring, my coach and I sat down and said we weren’t going to really focus on times this year but rather race for race experience. So I can’t be too disappointed.”
However with O’Hare evidently in the shape of his life, there is no doubt that the Edinburgh AC man will be looking to compete for a medal next week. The tenacious Scot admits he has been looking forward to making the Scottish team ever since it was announced that Glasgow had won the right to host the Commonwealth Games.
“As soon as I made the team, I wanted to make sure I was fit and capable, and more importantly, to run a race that I am happy with, which for me is being up there in the mix. As soon as we found out it was in Glasgow I knew I had to be there and run well.”
And with major championship experience from Moscow last year to draw upon, O’Hare believes it will be crucial to use that when he steps out at Hampden Park.
“The experience of a major championship is invaluable. I’m coming into the Commonwealth Games knowing how to deal with a major championship set up. Also, having already run at Hampden Park at the Sainsbury’s Glasgow Grand Prix, I have already been through that process.
“I’ve got the right state of mind to deal with this environment, whereas, perhaps for some of the younger members of the team who are coming here for their first senior competition, it may be a bit of a shock to them. I know it was for me in Moscow. In theory it shouldn’t make that much of a difference but if you have done it before, it is just one less thing to worry about.”
Chris O’Hare’s Commonwealth Games campaign begins of Friday 1 August where he will compete in the first round of the men’s 1500m. Catch the action live on the BBC or follow British athletics on twitter for a blow by blow account.