The Scot spoke to Athletics Weekly about his improvements and life as an athlete

During an excellent winter Andrew Butchart secured his place among the best distance runners in Britain and PBs in his first two races this summer was followed by selection for the GB team at the recent European Cup 10,000m and this weekend’s European Team Championships.

His first PB was somewhat unexpected – a 3:44.57 win in the British Milers’ Club Grand Prix at Trafford. The second PB was more on his radar as he ran 13:33.04 for 5000m in Oordegem. The run of PBs stretched to three as he had clocked 29:09 in the Morrisons Great Manchester Run 10km a week beforehard, showing his versatility over various surfaces.

His interest in athletics started after doing a few cross-country races when he was aged 16 at high school. He did okay and so joined his local club, Central AC, where Derek Easton eventually started to coach him when he was 18. Butchart says: “I never looked back. I don’t think I would be at the level I am today if it weren’t for him.”

“I don’t think I would be at the level I am today if it weren’t for him” – Butchart on his coach Derek Easton

The 23-year-old’s rise has been rapid. Last year he finished 35th at the European Cross Country Championships in Samokov after fine runs at the Leeds Abbey Dash 10km and the national road relays where he left his rivals trailing. This year he finished 86th in the IAAF World Cross in Guiyang after securing the CAU Inter-Counties Cross Country Championships and finishing first British runner at the Morrisons Great Manchester 10km.

The versatile Scot, who is currently sponsored by More Mile, recalls his breakthrough race when clocking 14:49.93 in his first 5000m at Wishaw as a junior against a good Scottish field in 2009. He says: “I was hardly training at all. Most people thought I’d missed a lap out!”

“I think if you’re not winning right now it doesn’t mean you won’t in the future”

With aspirations to get as far as he can in the sport, he purposefully says: “I would like to race Mo Farah as he is one of the best. You’ve got to compete against the best if you want to beat them! I was fairly late into the sport and never really excelled as a junior, so I think if you’re not winning right now it doesn’t mean you won’t in the future.”

Butchart on pre-race and post-race/training food

“I don’t have a specific meal before a race, however post-sessions and races I will indulge in a famous Clive Ramsay’s empire biscuit.”

On his favourite and least favourite session

“My favourite session is 5x1km with fast 200m efforts in between. My least favourite is definitely hills – all the guys are so fast and leave me behind!”

On his training group

“I have a really good training group at Central – everyone brings something different to the table so I’m really lucky. I love a Friday night curry club with the boys.”

On music

“I don’t tend to listen to music before a race, but I do love a good sing-song in the car! I’m currently rocking to Taylor Swift’s new album.”

On his goals

“I would like to have a good strong run over 5000m at the British Championships this year. Long-term, I aim to make as many major championships as possible and hopefully clinch a medal one day.”

On his work

“I am currently a part-time athlete as I’m still working three days a week as a fitness instructor. Hopefully though, and sometime soon, I will be able to make the step up to a full-time athlete.”


Monday: (am) 8 miles. (pm) 5 miles.

Tuesday: (am) Rest. (pm) Track session: something like 16x400m in 62sec with 1min rec.

Wednesday: (am) 8-10 miles. (pm) Spin class.

Thursday: (am) Rest. (pm) Grass session: something like 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1min with 1min rec.

Friday: (am) 8 miles. (pm) 5 miles.

Saturday: (am) Track session: something like 1600m, 1200m, 800m, 400m x 2 (5000m down to 1500m pace) with 1min between reps and 4min between sets. (pm) 5 miles.

Sunday: (am) 13-18 miles. (pm) Relax!

Butchart says: “All of my easy and recovery runs are 6:00-7:30min/mile. The session days are mostly on the track and maybe once a week on grass or roads. My training plan seems to work for me, but every athlete is different. Everyone should do as their coach says!”

» The above sessions are specific to the individual athlete and may not be suitable for other athletes