World fourth-placer is back in training following his Scottish marathon record run in London

Scottish marathon record-holder Callum Hawkins is ready to step up his preparations for the IAAF World Championships this autumn – and a midnight run in Doha, writes Peter Jardine.

The Kilbarchan AAC athlete ended a 34-year wait for a new fastest time by a Scot over the classic distance when he clocked 2:08:14 to finish 10th in the London Marathon in April.

Allister Hutton’s 2:09:16 mark had stood since 1985 and, after a short break which included his own version of the North Coast 500 road trip around Scotland, Hawkins has resumed training following confirmation of automatic selection for the global event in Qatar.

“I’m selected for Doha and that’s the main target for 2019,” said Hawkins, who was fourth in the 2017 world championships marathon.

“It will be warm out there, of course, but they have put the start of the marathon to midnight to try and help that. The main thing is there won’t be any sunshine because, as I’ve discovered, that can be the worst element!

“I’m racing again next in the Czech Republic in a half-marathon on June 15. It’s an evening start-time but the last time I was there for this race, at the same time of year, it was 27 degrees.”

Hawkins, of course, had collapsed in the final stages of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games marathon some 12 months prior to exorcising those ghosts with his superb run in London.

“To be honest, it didn’t feel like a huge mental barrier to complete the race in London,” added Hawkins, who helped Scottish Athletics present the Lindsays Trophy for cross country participation to Giffnock North in Glasgow this week (pictured below).

Photo by Bobby Gavin for Scottish Athletics

“I was really just thinking and concentrating more on trying to run fast, rather than just finishing.

“Having said that, I did have a wee wobble at the 40km point and my head just went a bit for a moment. I really just had to grind out the last 2km and get it done.

“However, it was a good run. The last 5km were actually quicker than Mo Farah’s last 5km! His last 1km was definitely faster than mine, though!

“I had come out beforehand and said publicly I was looking to get a new Scottish record and a top 10 finish in London and in the end that’s what happened – even though I took the record by over a minute and I do feel I can go even quicker.

“I don’t know too much about Allister Hutton and I’ve not spoken to him.

“But John Graham, who was second on the all-time list prior to my run, and also with a 2:09, did send me a message prior to London and said: ‘Good luck, that record really needs to be broken as it has been far too long’. I appreciated that gesture.”

In the recovery period after London, Hawkins’ only long run was a car run.

“I had a bit of down time afterwards,” he said. “We took a road trip up to the north of Scotland and it was fantastic – it was something I’d never done and bits of Scotland I’d never seen.

“It wasn’t the exact North Coast 500, more my version of it, because we ended up driving about 1000 miles in five days and the scenery was fantastic. I will go back again at some point but I don’t mean for a run – I’m not quite ready for the ultra running yet!

“Since then it is just a case of easing back into the training; doing a lot of work on the bike first and then some miles. This week is my first session of eight times three minutes a bit faster and we will take it from there. I feel in pretty good shape.”

Hawkins, twice winner of the Lindsays National XC title, isn’t ruling out a return to cross-country action next winter in what could be the countdown to the Tokyo Olympics.

He joined Scottish Athletics chairman and Lindsays chief operating officer, Ian Beattie, in celebrating success for Giffnock North AC in the Lindsays Trophy for the largest aggregate of finishers across three National XC events over the winter.

The Glasgow club, winners in 2016 and 2017, won the accolade back from holders Garscube Harriers after fielding no fewer than 283 finishers.

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