Milk power fu­elling Scot as he con­tin­ues quest for Olympic qual­i­fi­ca­tion

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FRONT PAGE - STE­WART FISHER

SLIM­LINE Scot­tish mid­dledis­tance run­ner Guy Lear­month is sin­gle-hand­edly keep­ing his lo­cal milk­man in busi­ness. The 800m Com­mon­wealth Games star from Lass­wade played rugby with Stu­art Hogg as a teenager and used to have the body shape to match. That was un­til he had a dis­cus­sion with new coach Rob Den­mark, and it was de­cided that he should ditch all un­nec­es­sary car­bo­hy­drates such as Oreo cook­ies, and bulk con­sume dairy prod­ucts in or­der to lose some body mass. He now drinks around four pints of skimmed milk a day, a regime which has seen him drop around three ki­los.

While Lear­month – who mem­o­rably bat­tled into the 800m fi­nal be­hind the likes of Ni­jel Amos and David Rud­isha at the Glas­gow games in 2014 – still feels the same power and ex­plo­sive­ness in the gym as he had in his rugby play­ing days, the only prob­lem with all this has been a wor­ry­ing re­cent habit of run­ning out of legs in the fi­nal stages of races. Af­ter what he called a lapse of con­cen­tra­tion in Athlone last week, on Satur­day at the Emi­rates Arena he was chid­ing him­self for the lack of fin­ish­ing speed which saw him fin­ish sixth be­hind Pol­ish win­ner Adam Kszc­zot, in a time of 1:47.80. His mood wasn’t im­proved any by the fact that, as in Athlone, he was pipped by Michael Rim­mer, the English­man who is his main com­pe­ti­tion in the Bri­tish in­door tri­als in Sh­effield next week­end.

“I feel more fluid,” said Lear­month, still just 23. “I don’t know how I look but I feel more sta­ble. I’m a work in progress – Rob Den­mark has done a lot of work with me and we’ve made big changes. So I’d like to see where I am in two years’ time.

“I’ve stuck to a strict diet,” he added. “No Oreo bis­cuits – and I love them! I eat a lot more pro­tein now. Es­pe­cially be­ing at uni in the past, carbs were an easy meal, so I used to be eat­ing them when I wasn’t train­ing, tak­ing in a lot of carbs at night. We’ve scrapped all that. I now have a lot more pro­tein at night. I also drink four pints of milk a day. That’s no word of a lie, I spend about two quid a day on milk.”

Thank­fully Lear­month could drink the white stuff un­til the cows come home. “I wouldn’t mind a milk spon­sor,” he jokes. “Or a cow in the back gar­den! But I haven’t sick­ened my­self with it. I love it, I have it with din­ner, break­fast, lunch, you name it. It’s not choco­late milk, def­i­nitely. It’s that skimmed stuff. It was like drink­ing white-coloured wa­ter at first. But thank­fully I’ve grown to like it. Maybe my body has be­come used to it.”

As dras­tic as the changes in body shape have been, they haven’t yet ne­ces­si­tated an en­tire change of wardrobe. “I’ll never look like Mo [Farah], I don’t think that’s pos­si­ble.” jokes Lear­month. “Thank­fully I haven’t had to get a new wardrobe. My spon­sors New Bal­ance kit me, so I’ve only just dropped a few jeans sizes, that’s the only big change.

“I can see progress, be­cause I’ve been go­ing re­ally, re­ally good in train­ing, so I don’t want to make the changes an ex­cuse,” he added. “But maybe the in­ten­sity of train­ing means I need just a few more big races, then I’ll be fine. There have been a ton of changes, I’ve come through them – and the per­for­mances have come.”

Lear­month, a one-time Bor­der Reiver who was a late starter in the sport at the age of 17, led from start to fin­ish in Sh­effield 12 months back for what was his first se­nior na­tional ti­tle. It saw him qual­ify for the Euro­pean In­doors in Prague, where he recorded a cred­itable sixth place fin­ish. While his main tar­get for the sea­son re­mains the Olympics in Rio, he has no in­ten­tion of giv­ing up his Bri­tish ti­tle with­out a fight.

“I’m a wee bit tired, I don’t know why, just a bit flat,” he said. “But I’ll be at the Bri­tish champs next week and I want to re­tain my ti­tle. The main goal is the out­door sea­son, to qual­ify for the Olympics, but I re­ally wanted to do a 1.46 in Glas­gow. There are no ex­cuses.

“So I will be work­ing on my fi­nal lap. To reach the Olympics, is a dream. It’s the pin­na­cle for ev­ery ath­lete. That will be my goal this sea­son.”

The cream al­ways rises to the top in Olympic year. But with a lit­tle help from his dairy-dom­i­nated diet Lear­month hopes to dine at the sport’s top ta­ble this Au­gust.

I’ve stuck to a strict diet. No Oreo bis­cuits – and I love them! I also drink four pints of milk a day. That’s no word of a lie, I spend about two quid a day on milk

FO­CUSED: Guy Lear­month ad­mits he will be work­ing on his fi­nal lap speed as he builds to­wards Olympic qual­i­fi­ca­tion

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