Athletics: O’Hare and Gauson facing formidable opposition in bids to be miles better

Edinburgh could be miles better at the end of the weekend as the best two middle-distance runners the Capital has produced for decades, Chris O’Hare and Kris Gauson, strive to reduce their times in events thousands of miles apart.

In New York tomorrow, O’Hare (Edinburgh AC) runs in the Wanamaker Mile at the prestigious 105th annual Millrose Games, one of several college athletes bidding to break the NCAA indoor record of 3:55.02.

Runner-up for the NCAA Indoor 1500 metres title last winter to Brigham Young university’s Miles Batty, the 21-year-old Scot has produced a range of times in his warm-up events, including slicing more than three seconds off his best for 1000 metres, suggesting he is ready to reduce his best mile time from the 3:56.48 he recorded in another meeting a year ago.

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Batty, however, is among a formidable field of college stars facing him and also now in the race is Ireland’s David McArthy (Providence, 3:55,75), while favourite for the race but ineligible for the record will be US star Matt Centrowitz.

Former Kenyan and now US star Bernard Lagat (eight wins) and Ireland’s Eamon Coghlan (seven wins) are just two of the famous names to have graced a race which started in 1908.

Gauson, meanwhile, runs in the 1500m at the UK Championships and World Indoor Trials at Sheffield, the heats of which are tomorrow, with the final on Sunday.

Gauson returned home last week from the US and reported no ill effects from jet-lag and had two good training sessions at Meadowbank before heading for Windsor, where he has been based this week.

Unlucky to miss the qualifying time for the World Indoors in Istanbul next month by just 0.95 secs, when he clocked 3:59.0 in Indianapolis just after altitude training in New Mexico, Gauson will face fierce opposition this weekend, not least from fellow Scot and training partner David Bishop, in what could be the tastiest race of the whole meeting.

Lasswade’s Guy Learmonth, however, might take issue with that, for the 19-year-old student has the UK’s form man Joe Thomas to face in the 800 metres, where getting through tomorrow’s heats might be as hard as Sunday’s final.

Even victory would not guarantee Learmonth a trip to Istanbul, unless he can also get the 1:48.0 qualifying time.

Comebacking Capital hurdler Allan Scott has still not recovered from a groin injury but other Scots in Sheffield include Jamie Bowie (400), Mark Mitchell (3000), Kath Evans (800), Claire Gibson (1500), Emily Stewart (3000) and Jayne Nisbet (high jump).