Chris O’Hare, photo by PhotoRun.net
Chris O’Hare has ended the drought. Not since the time of Steve Cram, Seb Coe and Steve Ovett, has GBR taken a medal in the men’s 1,500 meters. The last was Steve Cram.
Well, Chris O’Hare changed that in Zurich on Sunday, 17 August!
I remember the Millrose Games in Februry 2013 very well. After the Millrose Mile, which Matthew Centrowitz took second to Lopez Lomong, Chris 0’Hare had become the fastest collegian at the mile (3:52.98) and one of the fastest collegians at 1,500 meters (en route, 3:37.25).
Chris O’Hare was very happy with his performances. Portends of things to come. But, as we know, being a miler is not a solitary pursuit, nor is a fast time a guarantee of things to come. Chris faced a tough 2013, but made the final of the World Champs (12th), and in earnest, built to great shape in 2014.
Chris had to drop out of the Oslo mile with an hamstring issue, resting it and preparing for the championships to come soon. That was a fortuitous decision.
On July 12, 2014, at the Glasgow DL, Chris ran the best race of his life, running a fine 3:35.06 in a very fast 1,500 meters, taking fifth. He had the standard for both Europeans and Commonwealth Games.
In a tough 1,500 meter final in Glasgow two weeks later, O’Hare finished sixth, after looking great for the bronze medal in the 1,500 meters.
Not giving up, Chris O’Hare stayed focused.
In a 1,500 meter final that was more professional roller derby than racing, Chris O’Hare kept his wits. At nine hundred meters, Mehiedene Mekhissi-Benabbad cut across the track and took the lead, his long loping stride beginning to unwind.
That started the closely running field to go through falls, and a series of cataclysms that put the defending champion out of gold contention, Ciaran O’Lionard, IRL, on the ground, among others.
Keeping your wits in such conditions was not easy, but Chris O’Hare stayed focus.
The job here was to stay in the race and get a medal.
As MMB flew down the track, running a 52.5 for the last 400 meters, it cleared out the pretenders.
Chris O’Hare timed his last kick perfectly. Sprinting down the stretch, he saw the field crumbling in front of him, and went from sixth, to fifth, to fourth, to the bronze, just behind Henrik Ingebregtson, Norway, the defending champion.
And probably not in Chris O’Hare’s bandwidth, just after the race, is that he ended the great British drought, and brought GBR a bronze medal in the men’s 1500 meters, adding to the best performance EVER by GBR in the medal haul.
After catching his breath, Chris spoke to the mixed zone:
“I didn’t want to be at the front that early on, the plan was to move up there with 150m to go. There were lots of big falls behind me so I picked my heels up to avoid being tripped as well and to keep out of trouble. I tried to get on the inside but I couldn’t get there and so I had to jump back out. I think I could have challenged Mekhissi-Benabbad if I’d have been closer to him in the final 200m. His 3,000m steeplechase disqualification was silly regardless of his behaviour – he ran a superb race against a great field here today so fair play to him. This year’s been a bit of a mess so this medal is a great outcome for me. I’m done with my season now, I’ll have a few days off now and then get ready for the cross country season.”
And kudos to Chris O’Hare on his comments on the disqualification of MMB in the steeplechase.
Watch Chris O’Hare in cross country season in the
Larry Eder has had a 50-year involvement in the sport of athletics. Larry has experienced the sport as an athlete, coach, magazine publisher, and now, journalist and blogger. His first article, on Don Bowden, America's first sub-4 minute miler, was published in RW in 1983. Larry has published several magazines on athletics, from American Athletics to the U.S. version of Spikes magazine. He currently manages the content and marketing development of the RunningNetwork, The Shoe Addicts, and RunBlogRun. Of RunBlogRun, his daily pilgrimage with the sport, Larry says: "I have to admit, I love traveling to far away meets, writing about the sport I love, and the athletes I respect, for my readers at runblogrun.com, the most of anything I have ever done, except, maybe running itself."
Theme song: Greg Allman, " I'm no Angel."
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