Chris O'Hare driven to improve by younger Scottish rivals

The first four home in the 1500m in Birmingham were all Scottish runners
The first four home in the 1500m in Birmingham were all Scottish runners

British 1500m champion Chris O'Hare says the success of fellow Scots is a catalyst for his good form.

O'Hare led a remarkable Scottish 1-2-3-4 at the World Championships team trials, qualifying along with Edinburgh AC team-mate Josh Kerr.

The 26-year-old is enthused by younger rivals coming through as he strives to stay ahead.

"Once they do well, that drives me on to work harder and train smarter," he told BBC Scotland.

Jake Wightman, also of Edinburgh AC, and Neil Gourlay from Giffnock North AC came in behind O'Hare and Kerr in Birmingham on Sunday.

And O'Hare, a European bronze medallist in 2014, admits he has has lost sleep over the coming generation of Scottish runners.

"The day after Josh ran his 1500m qualifying time I had a 5K and I woke up a three o'clock in the morning and stupidly looked at the results," said O'Hare. "I couldn't get back to sleep.

"I was excited for him but also excited by the prospect of having to fight even more people for a spot on the team."

Having clinched his spot in London in August, O'Hare believes a mixture of the Scottish psyche and American collegiate system is behind the rise.

"The depth of 1500m running in Britain is incredible at the moment," he said.

"If you compare it to something like football, for the four best players in Britain to be Scottish has never happened and, arguably, never will.

"Scottish people, in general, have a chip on their shoulder. In terms of competing against the rest of Britain, we work extra hard to make sure the small Scots get their piece of the pie.

"In junior championships, the English dominate. In international schools and stuff like that, the English win most of the team prizes. That puts our guard up."

O'Hare, Kerr and Gourlay all left Scotland as teenagers to continue their athletic careers in America.

"It's a fantastic system to develop not just ability but racing prowess," said O'Hare, who will be running in Sunday's London Anniversary Games.

"We saw that at the weekend with first second and fourth all coming through the NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association].

"But we had a platform to succeed and we must thank Scottish Athletics for that."

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