Chris has sixth appeal in Arkansas

WEST LINTON athlete Chris O’Hare is being hailed as Scotland’s newest middle-distance star after almost breaking a 17-year-old national record.

The 20-year-old exercise science student won the mile at a meeting in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on Friday night in 3min 56.48sec – just over a second outside David Strang’s record set in 1994 and the fastest, indoors or out, since 1998.

It puts the Borderer sixth on the Scottish all-time list, ahead of 1970 Commonwealth 5,000 metres silver medallist Ian McCafferty.

He is the second-fastest US collegiate miler this winter and fourth quickest in the world so far. His mile time equates to 3.40 for 1,500m – good enough for last year’s Commonwealth Games, but Delhi was not remotely on the horizon as he struggled with a serious rib problem.

O’Hare suffered chest pains while running in 2009 and his parents took him to several consultants who could not confirm a diagnosis. When the condition worsened during a race at which UK Athletics physio Chris Jerrett was present, the problem became clearer – hypermobility of two ribs. This was just before he left to take up a college place in the USA, but a regime of manipulation and strengthening exercises helped resolve the problem.

Borderer O’Hare was first coached by Charlie Russell and cut his teeth on the local handicap circuit. He spent a year at Napier University before taking up a scholarship in Tulsa.

Sister Olivia still competes on the local and national circuit and ran 2.14 for 800m last year before her 15th birthday, near the top of the UK rankings for her age.

You can watch Chris O’Hare’s Fayetteville race by visiting www.runnerspace.com/video.php