Edinburgh’s Chris O’Hare came back from the track brink for moments like scooping silver in front of a Scottish crowd at Glasgow 2019.
The 28-year-old endured the toughest season of his career in 2018, slumping to ninth at the European outdoors in Berlin after injuries got in the way of his Commonwealth Games campaign.
TICKETS REMAIN AVAILABLE FOR SUNDAY MORNING’S SESSION HERE OR IN PERSON AT THE EMIRATES ARENA
And if O’Hare was shocked he beat Andrew Butchart at the National Indoor Championships last month, he would have been flabbergasted by European indoor silver in a 3000m race for the ages.
“It’s a while since I’ve been on the podium and it’s been a hell of a four years,” said the West Linton star, whose last medal came at the European Indoors in Prague back in 2015.
“I wouldn’t change it – I was made to be the person I am today and hopefully this is a step forward.
“I can’t really explain how hard it is. Any athlete would know, anyone at this level would know.
“After Europeans, I was in a pretty dark place and if it wasn’t for my family and my support team.
“It’s kind of one of those when I was sat on a wall in Berlin with mum and dad and thought this is too hard. I’d been gone for three months, three months away from my wife and son and I thought it wasn’t worth it.
“You pick yourself up. It’s not an easy thing to come back from. I’m glad to come in fit and healthy and kind of show what I can do.”
The relatively slow pace of the 3000m race suited O’Hare, who stayed on the shoulder of brothers Ingebrigtsen right until the back straight.
Jakob, 18, held on to claim gold in his first-ever indoor competition but O’Hare pipped Henrik, who mounted an incredible swallow dive for the line to try and snip second.
The Scot held on to snap the expected Ingebrigtsen one-two but leapt to the defence of the brothers, who don’t lack for confidence.
“I’ve known Henrik for years now,” he said.
“They can sometimes get a bit of a bad name for being overconfident but they back it up all the time. As an athlete, you respect that, you hope they don’t back it up but they always do.
“I’ve always had good banter with Henrik.
“I got some criticism for trying to win my heat and going a bit hard. But in the final with 400 metres to go, I thought I know I can do this, I did it yesterday. S
“Sometimes you need that memory of it in the front of your mind. That threw me across the line – not quite as literally as Henrik. I thought he might have hurt me there!”
A record nine Scots have already delivered a couple of medals for the British cause that sees the home outfit sit second in the overall Championships medal table with a day of racing still to come.
And just as Laura Muir credited the Emirates Arena crowd with helping her surge to unforgettable 3000m glory on Friday night, O’Hare paid tribute to the role home backing played in his triumph.
“It was sheer crowd power – with 200 to go I couldn’t look back,” he said.
“I thought bronze, just give it everything to try and get there.
“It took me a lot to just get onto the shoulder. It erupted round the bend, it does kind of pick you up and chuck you over the line.”