In one of the deepest races at the Chemist Warehouse Australian Athletics Championships, what chance does a man who has not raced in 10 months stand? Ask Oliver Hoare himself and the answer is every chance, and you would be naïve not to believe him.

If Hoare’s track record featuring a historic Commonwealth gold and Olympic final don’t move the needle, his unfiltered analysis of the Australian middle-distance landscape might. Full of praise for his compatriots while declaring his own fitness, the candid operator is counting down the days until the Men’s 1500m in Adelaide.

“With the athletes we have in Australia now, you can’t hide and you shouldn’t be allowed to. It’s something that I have always dreamed about seeing the sport grow to this level at home, and obviously I want to be a part of that,” Hoare says.

“I like the mystery and the mystique, obviously my last race was an Australian record where I ran injured which gives me a lot of confidence in my ability to execute well in big races. I feel like my resume shows that I can deal with different forms of racing, and I will be ready.”

Last seen on the June 15 at the Oslo Diamond League where he raced to an Oceania record of 3:29.41 over 1500m before making the difficult decision to shut down his 2023 World Championships campaign to heal a sports hernia and injured pelvis, the 27-year-old is now back on track thanks to his team headed by coach Dathan Ritzenhein.

“It was a definitely a difficult task, but there is no growth if there are not bumps along the way. Dathan and I and our team have really enjoyed that challenge because it makes you want it more and makes you hungry leading into an Olympic year,” Hoare says.

“It’s been hard sitting on the sidelines, but it’s also been extremely encouraging to see so many familiar faces doing so well, and also how strong the event has become.”

Hoare will meet many of those familiar faces in Adelaide for next week’s Australian Athletics Championships, landing down under from his Boulder base to take on the likes of Stewart McSweyn and Cameron Myers amidst a star-studded 1500m bout with Olympic implications.

“Some 1500m runners from Norway or Great Britain like to focus on people’s weaknesses, but I like to look at people’s strengths. Everyone has weaknesses in their forte, but in my perception it’s about acknowledging their strengths, and pushing myself to be stronger than that on any given day,” Hoare says.

“Even for Stewy [McSweyn], he’s such a good competitor and a really talented and sophisticated runner. I think he could give so much more to the event and hasn’t hit his capacity yet. He’s a seasoned veteran and the man to beat at these championships.”

So passionate is the Australian record holder about the nation’s middle-distance resurgence that when he speaks, it is as though he is a fan rather than one of the pre-race favourites, genuinely singing the praises of his rivals just days out from warfare.

“A guy like Cameron Myers, when you have that kind of momentum and the maturity of his racing for his age, you just have to look forward to racing him because you know it’s going to be a challenge,” Hoare says.

“It’s great to see we have our own Jakob [Ingebrigtsen] coming through, even better probably, so this will be a great test for him and I know he will be looking forward to trying to win.”

The Australian Athletics Championships beginning on April 11 in Adelaide will mark the beginning of Hoare’s bid for a second Olympic Games at Paris 2024, where he will also race the Men’s 5000m as he seeks maximum exposure to the world-class level of Australian athletics.

For now, he and teammate Morgan McDonald are putting an Australian flavour on their final preparations for national glory:

“The food and coffee, and overall vibe that Australia gives off is very lush. It’s very nice for me and Morgan because it’s not as industrious as the US, so it’s definitely good to be back in the homeland after being away for so long.”

The Australian Athletics Championships will run from April 11-19 at the SA Athletics Stadium, with the entry lists and timetable available HERE and tickets available HERE.

Article and image courtesy of Athletics Australia

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.