Guy Learmonth remains in athletics for the long haul. Past his 30th birthday, the Borderer is preparing to pursue his fourth British 800 metres title on the boards in Birmingham on Sunday at the UK Indoor Championships believing he is yet to reach his prime.

After braving the sweltering sun that either represents a pain or a perk of wintering in southern Australia, he feels perfectly ready to claim the victory that would secure his starting spot at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul in a fortnight.

The path is wide open, despite the circular route he took from Berwick to Birmingham.

“I was hoping to do a good pre-meet but it took eight hours to get here from home,” he revealed. “The traffic was insane so I’ve been a wee bit sluggish.”

Regardless, he won his heat comfortably in 1:48.69 with the rebuild under his Antipodean coach Justin Rinaldi going well.

It brought him so close to Tom McKean’s long-standing Scottish record a few weeks ago. Now he has to take care of a Sunday showdown that doubles as the British trial for the Euros.

“I feel good so the final should be a good race,” Learmonth said. “A lot has changed, I’m based in Melbourne now with my group and my coach is down there. I’m in a really good place after going through a lot of years of turmoil. This year we’re just having fun so I’m really looking forward to Sunday.”

He has no obvious challenger. Mass withdrawals of star names have diminished the wattage this weekend with the quartet of Olympic medallists – Laura Muir, Keely Hodgkinson, Dina Asher-Smith and Josh Kerr – racing overseas of late and opting to keep their powder dry for the more lucrative diversion of next weekend’s World Indoor Tour finale back at ArenaBirmingham.

This meeting is the first instalment in a small but priceless new broadcast deal with the BBC. Household names drive ratings. Absentees are own goals.

Daryll Neita lent some lustre with another impressive sprint to women’s 60m gold that sets her up for a clash with Asher-Smith next Saturday. The Londoner believes one or other will break the British record.

“It is good to have that rivalry at home because we push each other,” she said.

Now based in Italy, her coach Marco Airale believes Neita can evolve into a “supercar”.

“I read that and thought he’s amazing, comparing me to a super car,” the 26-year-old grinned. “He is right, I am revved up and ready to go. I don’t think we’ve seen anything close to what I am capable of yet.”

Alisha Rees was edged out of silver by Asha Philip but the Aberdonian is also reaping the rewards of change. Relocating to London to work under Ryan Freckleton, she has reduced her own Scottish best this winter but was just shy here in 7.30 secs.

“Obviously I’d like to run a bit quicker but I’m happy to take home a medal,” Rees, 23, said. “I definitely want to go outdoors and solidify my place on teams. I don’t want to miss out any more. I want to go make individual spots.”

Reece Prescod ran 6.54 secs to hold off Jeremiah Azu in the men’s 60m final in a duel of Neita’s training partners but Scottish No.1 Adam Thomas is set to miss out on European selection following his seventh place.

There was the curiosity of a three-way split of silver in the men’s pole vault with Scottish duo Reuben Nairne and Ewan Bradley, plus Jack Phipps, clearing 4.90m to be runners-up to Charlie Myers. Bradley, normally a decathlete, had a split shift with the 60m hurdles and still managed to poach a podium place.

“It’s hard to switch mindsets between events,” he acknowledged. “You just have to have fun with these events.”

Jenny Selman breezed into the women’s 800m final with the absence of Jemma Reekie due to flu boosting the Fifer’s hopes of defending her title.

“In a championship especially, the final is more tactical so anything can happen,” the 31-year-old said.

Erin Wallace moved into Sunday's women’s 1500m final in coming second to Ellie Baker, while Neil Gourley will be hot favourite for the men’s 1500m crown.