The grass is not always greener, Andy Butchart has discovered. The sun, certainly, was brighter in California than in Stirling and the lifestyle laid back and enriching.

The lure of transplanting himself to San Diego to work with distance running guru Terrence Mahon seemed irresistible despite the strides made under the tutelage of Derek Easton who had guided him from club outings for Central AC to sixth place in an Olympic 5000 metres final.

Butchart, in tandem with girlfriend Lynsey Sharp, was bedazzled by the promise of boundless rewards. Two years on, both were ultimately left disillusioned and deflated and heading for home.

“I made a big mistake in the fact that I asked Terrence to coach me,” he says in his first full disclosure of the unexpected split. “I shouldn’t have ever asked him to coach me. I should have just asked him just to advise me, because I don’t need coached.

“I’m not the kind of person who ever needed, Monday to Sunday, am, pm. Or ‘this is how many miles you should do. This is what pace you should be doing’. I’m not good at being told what to do, because I’ve never been used to it.”

His post-Mahon returns have been promising, and he hopes his better form will continue in the 5000m at today’s Muller Anniversary Games in London. Now overseeing himself, albeit with a few trusted advisors, he has regained some of the swagger that had been lost, particularly from the nadir of coming 10th at March’s European indoors in Glasgow.

There was a blame game afterwards, which has not been resolved.

“Even if Terrence thinks that it was my fault or I think it was his fault, I’m the one who’s having to step out on the track and look like an idiot,” Butchart says.

Sharp, who will run in the non-Diamond League 800m in London tomorrow, has attributed culpability, speaking unkindly of the strategy designed for her by Mahon, who formerly worked for UK Athletics. The double divorce became messy.

“Before I left Terrence, Lynsey had left Terrence. And he took it out so bad on me,” Butchart says.

On the bright side, Butchart does feel he has closed the gap on the Africans who dominate his distance. Smarter and wiser, the differential in times will not cool his ambition.

“Because it doesn’t matter at the championships,” he says. “Mo Farah wasn’t the fastest 5ker in the world. But he was always winning. Like there’s guys on the start-line who are definitely faster, but they’re just not as smart.”

Meanwhile, Laura Muir’s path in today’s 1500m was eased when Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon was a late scratch with her Dutch rival Sifan Hassan also confirming she will opt for the 5000m and 10,000m at the world championships.