Chris O'Hare: Breaking Records
Scottish athlete Chris O'Hare ran the third fastest mile by a Scot ever a couple of weeks ago, in 3 mins 52.98 seconds which also landed him the collegiate record in USA breaking the previous time set at 3:54.54. O'Hare is attending Tulsa University in America which has seen him develop into one of Britain's brightest young talents.
O'Hare, now 22, finished fourth at the Millrose Games in New York to beat the Scottish indoor record set by David Strang in 1994 (second fastest Britain ever behind all-time great Peter Elliot) and RunnersLife caught up with him to get his thoughts on his current form, his time in America and the dissapointment of missing out on a place in Team GB for the up coming European Indoor Championships.
Chris O'Hare leading the way
How has your time in Tulsa been so far?
My time at Tulsa has been fantastic. Despite the expected ups and downs, my experience at The University of Tulsa has been invaluable. Racing in the NCAA has taught me so much about racing and everything to do with being an elite athlete. My scholarship has also given me the opportunity to earn a very valuable degree.
How did you end up at that University?
Deciding which University to settle on was a long and difficult decision but when it came down to it, The University of Tulsa has the most to offer. The balance between academics and athletics was exactly what we were looking for and Coach Gulley's attitude was and still is right on the money.
How have you settled in and how has training differed?
It was a tough transition for me because I was carrying a fairly large injury at the time but after we got the problem ironed out training was great. As all runners know, consistency is key, so once we managed to string consecutive months of training together, I started running well and making a name for myself.
You recently broke the Scottish indoor mile and collegiate records in New York, can you talk us through the race briefly?
The Wanamaker mile was a crazy race/experience. I started out pretty far back in the race and I was just trying to stay calm and keep running smooth. I knew if I panicked and tried to catch the lead pack too quickly I would fade and not get any records. With about 300m to go I felt great, I saw an opportunity to win the race and I took it. Lopez, Matt and Ciarán took the lead back pretty quickly, but I got the race going and I am glad I did because if I had not gone then, I may not have broken the record.
2013 Millrose Games Mens Wanamaker Mile
Is it something you were aiming to do?
Breaking the Scottish record wasn't something that I was thinking about going into the race. I didn't even know what the mile record was. I was shooting for the collegiate record at 3.54 but I wasn't solely focussing on that. I knew that if I went out to try and win the race I would most likely get the record.
How does the indoor season fit into your overall plans this year?
This indoor season fits perfectly into our plan for the year. After the NCAA Indoor National Championships I will take a week or two of just mileage to reload and get ready for the outdoor season. I am redshirting this outdoor season so will only race one or two races prior to heading back to the UK for the World championship trials.
What do you like about racing indoors and does it differ to outdoors?
I like the tactical aspect on indoor races. It is more exciting than outdoors but I am definitely looking forward to outdoors this year.
Are you a bit disappointed not to get a chance to run in the Euro indoors Championships?
The Euro indoors would have been a great experience and would have given me a chance to compete at the "elite level". However you don't get much more "elite" that the field at Millrose Games so I am not too concerned about that aspect.
The main goal for this year is to take home another National Championship back to Tulsa and make the final and compete at the World Championships in Moscow in the summer. These have been the goals since last year and changing your goals and overloading your schedule is a sure fire way of getting hurt or burnt out.
What advice would you give to guys looking to go to America?
The biggest piece of advice I could give is not to be star struck by "the big schools" and do your research. One thing I have learned is the big schools are good at wowing the high school kids to get them committed to their program and then they fail to take good care of them.