FOR once lactic acid was not the principal problem Guy Learmonth was dealing with in his recovery regime, graphic comparison with parts of a badger’s anatomy in describing his condition offering a clue as to the cause of what he went on to describe as his ‘zombie’ state on Sunday.

The post-race celebrations, following the Scottish middle distance runner’s victory over double European 400 metres champion Martyn Rooney in their cross-discipline clash over 500 metres at the Great North City Games, had clearly been as enthusiastically engaged in as the pre-race hype the pair had generated.

Admittedly Botswana’s Nijel Amos had beaten both, but it was nonetheless a highly satisfying victory for the man who, in simplistic terms, had the greater adjustment to make in shifting down from 800 metres to be the first Briton past the post, not least because he made a dubious start.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome really other than beating Nijel obviously, but he’s one of the greatest ever so I’ll settle for second for now and to finish top Brit is also an added plus,” he said.

“My main race was to take on Rooney but I was going to employ the same tactic regardless and the race didn’t go as smoothly as it may have looked. I actually slipped on the start line when the gun went off then was running behind too many bodies in front of me and into a fairly strong headwind hence the slower time than anticipated but hey, I can’t complain, we had a great time hyping the whole event, so many people got behind it and I feel we have created something that needs to be done more often at these races.”

He clearly recovered quickly since, defying the obvious expectation that the specialists over shorter distances would have the advantage early on while Learmonth would have to rely on his strength in the last 80 to 100 metres, he set off sharply and led Rooney most of the way, revelling in the fun.

“It built excitement, we got the public involved heavily on social media and we had a real Team Learmonth v Team Rooney sort of fan club online and amongst the spectators,” said Learmonth. “It was brilliant and I loved every second of it. The past two weeks have been great craic and it’s been the most fun I’ve ever had in the build up to a race ever.”

So much so that he is ever more keen to see something similar staged in Scotland, his observations to that effect last weekend encouraging one middle distance grandee to suggest that it was time that the Princes Street Mile was reinstituted.

“They virtually block the whole of Princes Street off for The Fringe in August so they could do something similar for a one off meet,” he suggested. “Everything in a straight line, I’m not sure the exact distance from end to end but if every race was run in a complete straight line (maybe even close to 800-1000m) then I think that would be pretty cool. The buzz would be insane and I am fully behind it.”