JAMIE CROWE’S appearance over 5000m at the British Championships in Manchester this weekend will be fuelled by altitude hot chocolate and the stellar advice of Mo Farah.

The Central AC athlete will join fellow Scots Sol Sweeney and Jonny Glen in his first race since returning from a month spent training at Font Romeu in France alongside team-mate Andy Butchart and the afore-mentioned Farah.

It is an experience the 25 year-old hopes will benefit him upon his return to the track having clocked mile after mile every day in the rarefied air of the Pyrenees.  

“I was over there for a month and it was an eye-opener about how good a lifestyle it is at these training camps,” revealed the Scottish national cross-country champion.

“But it was also a bit of a shock to learn how hard these boys train when they’re there. I thought I had worked hard over lockdown until I went over there and worked with Farah, Butchart and a few others. And I was really struggling at times.

“The first week you’re meant to take it easy and get used to the altitude but we just jumped straight in. So it was full-on from week one to week four. Every run was hard and the altitude made it even more difficult.

“And you’ve got the ego thing where you don’t want to get dropped. You’re in a group with Farah, Butchart and others and your pride kicks in so you have to try to keep up with them the best you can. There wasn’t much racing discipline on my part – the ego came first!

“The favourite part off the track was going for hot chocolate every day at 3pm on the dot. By the end of the trip we worked out we had spent 80 Euros each on it. But it was a different calibre of hot chocolate over there!”

There are few better than Farah to learn from when you’re looking to hone your technique and the Olympic great was more than happy to help Crowe with a few pointers.

“Mo was a proper nice guy,” he added. “And he just knew so much about running. He would look at your style and be able to give you tips. And then you would be running the next rep thinking about what he had said.

“It was a big help. Obviously I can’t observe myself running so I don’t always know what I need to do to improve on. But he was just running behind me or side-by-side and he’d notice something and point it out. When a four-time Olympic champion tells you to shorten your stride you’re going to do it.

“And he knew so much about your body as well. If you were aching in a certain part of your leg he’d know a stretch or an exercise that would fix it. And he’s just rapid as well. That was impressive to see. So it was a productive month all in – hot chocolate and lots of miles.”

Enforced quarantine upon his return has deprived Crowe of the opportunity of a warm-up race, making his maiden appearance of the summer a journey into the unknown.

“I’m pretty excited just to be racing again as I’ve never had this length of gap before between events. I think the biggest one before was maybe four months but that’s when I was injured which is different.

“I’ve done one time trial and tried to make it feel like a race but it’s not the same. I’d imagine I’ll have a few butterflies before the race just because it’s been so long and I don’t really know what kind of shape I’m going to be in.

“Ideally I would probably have had a couple of races before rather than starting with the British championships. Most of the field have raced this summer. But I was over in France and so couldn’t race when I got back.

“If it had been a smaller race to start off I could have eased my way in with no expectation but I can’t do that for this one. So I’ll be looking to compete the best I can.”

Crowe is about to embark on a postgraduate course to become a PE teacher but has not given up on making it to the Olympics next summer.

“I’m 25 now so I feel I’ve still got a few years ahead of me. I’ve got Butchart to gauge my progress on and I feel I’m pretty close to where he was at my age. Hopefully I can have a good winter doing cross country and get some good times there. The Olympics might still be too soon for me but I’d never say never.”