Chris O’Hare

Chris O’Hare, Olympian and three times European Championship Medallist has announced his retirement as a professional athlete.

Chris has been a superb ambassador for athletics in Scotland, inspired by his older brother Ryan he joined Peebles High School cross country team to be like him, realising that he was doing well and had a talent for running it inspired him to continue and take it more seriously.

Chris joined the club as a 12 year old in 2002 (City of Edinburgh) competing in the Forth Valley League, Scottish Young Athletes League and the Scottish U15 Championships.
Chris  was coached by Eric Fisher and Dave Campbell, staying with Dave’s group until he moved to  the USA, whenever he was back home he would drop in to the training sessions at Meadowbank.

From this platform Chris rose to become a great ambassador for Scottish Athletics, representing Scotland at two Commonwealth Games.

Chris savoured significant medal success at British level representing GB and NI on numerous occasions and the highlights would be the
2016 Olympic Games in Rio and three European Championship medals.

Chris won bronze in the 1500m in Zurich at the 2014 Euro Champs and then bronze again a few months later at the 2015 European Indoors in Prague.

But arguably the crowning glory was a superb run for 3000m silver at the Glasgow 2019 European Indoors in front of a home crowd in Glasgow – clinched with a typically strong run and full-on finish as he plunged across the line.

Chris was also very much in the vanguard as our elite athletes began to reach greater heights – coming through with the likes of Eilidh Doyle, Lynsey Sharp and Eilish McColgan.

Chris played a very big part in improving the Scottish Record at 1500m, effectively trail-blazing for fellow Club members Jake Wightman and then Josh Kerr who has recently broken Chris’s 1 mile indoor record..

Looking back, we find a first listing for Chris on Power of 10 from the summer of 2002 – so we’re talking here about two decades of dedication to his sport.
(with extracts from Scottish Athletics)

Happily settled in the States with his wife Meredith and three children, Chris said in a statement:
‘Retiring is never an easy decision for an athlete to make but I am relieved to say that although I will miss everything about training and racing, I am happy to be a retired athlete,’
‘A huge thank you to all those who have supported me throughout my career.’ “Running has blessed me with so many opportunities and so many wonderful lifelong friendships. I wouldn’t have been able to achieve what I did without the unwavering support of so many people committed to making my dreams a reality.” 

The Club is proud to have Chris as a member and to see him wearing the Edinburgh AC vest in many of his International meetings and wish him well in the future

Questions from club members.

Q. Yvonne Jones
What did it feel like to put on your club vest and represent the club knowing there was a Mars bar in it for you?
A. Chris
Donning the Edinburgh Vest was always special, growing up wearing it almost every weekend, you strive to leave the club vest behind and wear the Scotland and GB best.
Once I achieved those things, I always loved wearing my Edinburgh vest again. During the calm before the storm when I would attach my numbers to my vest at the British Championships always gave me a moment to reflect on where I came from, how I got here, who I am doing this for and what I need to do to make Edinburgh AC proud. In hindsight, that was such an important part of race preparation that I overlooked but it always got me in the right mindset. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that some of the best performances of my career have been in an Edinburgh vest.

Q. Eric Fisher
You have stated before that you were never top in your club E.A.C. when you were a young teenager, there always seemed to be someone ahead of you. How did you feel in those far off days and could this have been the driving force behind your athletic success?
Absolutely, I always seemed to be one of the smallest athletes on the start line as a kid, I always looked like I was in my first year of an age group, even when I wasn’t.
I think it is important for young athletes to remember that being beaten is an important part of learning how to race and train, even when you are the fastest on paper going into a race, the start line is the great equaliser, that’s what is so great about running, previous results don’t win the current race.For me, I knew I was small, so I knew I was going to have to fight harder than everyone else.

Q.Richard Clark
How did it feel to finally break John Robson’s 28 year old 1500m record in 2017 and break your record on the same track in 2018?
Does it make you smile that the record has subsequently been broken by two other EAC athletes and that you in essence helped blaze that trail for them?
A. Chris
Breaking records was always a fun yet difficult to grasp concept for me. I didn’t ever set out to break a record, I just wanted to race to my best and if I did that, I knew I would have a chance at breaking records.
To break a record that stood for so long was amazing, it’s strange to think that nobody from Scotland has ever ran faster than you. It is one of those things that even people who don’t understand track and field can understand so that is pretty cool. I always knew that my record wouldn’t stand for long, I had hoped I would be able to lower it more myself but my hip has other ideas unfortunately. To see Edinburgh boys hunt the record and break it is great. Records are there to be broken, I am grateful that I got to play a motivational role in Josh and Jake’s pursuit of greatness.
Watching them grow year by year into the world’s best 1500m guys fills me with pride to be an EAC boy. 

Q.Sharyn Ramage
It would be a shame to permanently shelve your athletic career, would you consider coming out of retirement to perform on the Masters circuit’?
A. Chris
I think because I have had to commit so much to the sport for the last 15 years and sacrificed so much to succeed, I am excited to do other things and not focus my energy on running. That being said, I am only 31 so it may be something I get back into in the future.

Q. Jake Wightman
You selfishly never let us win trials and you ended up qualifying for British teams six years in a row. What was your favourite championship you went to and why?
I think my favourite GB team was London World Champs in 2017, having three EAC guys qualify for the team and getting to experience the London home crowd was really special. My favourite championship of all was the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, it was my first Commonwealth Games and getting to experience the Hampden Roar is something I will never forget. Aside from the running part, it was probably the most fun I have had getting to share a home games experience with my friends.

Q.Josh Kerr
As a man that has beaten Jake at British Champs, how should I race the final to take the win in 2022?
A. Chris
Beating Jake (and Josh for that matter) is something that has always taken a lot of planning exploring different options in training. Long story short, it doesn’t matter how fit or good either of you feel, it will be a battle every single time you both stand on the start line together. all I can say is, as much as I will miss racing, I’m not envious of the other guys in the field at future British Champs. 

Q.Gary Leek
What do you do to focus but relax the night before a major race.
I try as much as possible not to “focus” on the race till I start warming up, for a big race, I’ll run through different situations in my head during training sessions and runs to visualise different scenarios. That way, I don’t waste nervous energy and wind myself up trying to think about the race the day before or the morning of the race.
It has taken years or trying different things, but my advice is to try and forget about the race as much as possible till it’s time to put your spikes on. Then it’s game time.

To all Edinburgh Athletic Club young athletes –
You should be very proud to represent a club with such rich history and current success. Every time you think you aren’t quite good enough for the upcoming race or the next time you are upset from a bad race, remember that every EAC athlete that has come before you has thought the same things. We have all struggled with the demons of self doubt, performance anxiety, the sacrifices necessary to succeed as an athlete and countless other factors that do their best to derail your progress. Remember that you are just as capable as those who have come before you. You have the benefit of being able to use our success and mistakes to help you succeed. I can’t wait to see what Edinburgh Athletic Club athletes can do in the future. Go out and write your name in the history books. 
Chris O’Hare

Final word from Chris’s Dad
Looking back, raising 4 children brings many joys and challenges.
Athletics played a big part in our family, Ryan led the way and Chris wanted to follow in his footsteps, then Olivia and Dominic also followed suit, athletics became their main sporting interest and focus, It helped keep them on the straight and narrow and it meant they could talk to us as parents and coaches too that was cool.

Chris’s parents, 2019 European Championships , Glasgow

We’ve been with them through every stage of their journeys. We’ve shared celebrations and supported them when things didn’t go to plan. We’ve always been there to lift them up when they’ve been low. Injuries make it like a game of ‘snakes and ladders.’ As parents, Gillian and I have done every imaginable supporting job. We’ve covered very many miles in the process. The journey is an emotional rollercoaster. Like every parent, all we hope for is that our children are happy, healthy, loving and always kind to others.

Athletics is competitive whilst also genuinely considerate, our children have benefited in so many ways from their time in athletics and we are all so grateful to everyone who has freely given their time, knowledge and experience. We are also very grateful to their fellow athletes without whom, genuine competition and compassion would not have been possible.

You don’t have to be the best but be the best you can be and if you’ve given your very best, your mum, dad, siblings and coaches will always be very proud of you, no matter where you finish the race or whatever you achieve in life in general.
Terry O’Hare

More photos of Chris’s athletics career can be viewed in our Gallery

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