British 5000m champion on a voyage of discovery as he prepares to make half-marathon debut at the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run in Glasgow
Andrew Butchart has been set a very simple goal by coach Terrence Mahon ahead of making his half-marathon debut at the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run on Sunday.
“Coach has written on my schedule ‘just don’t get injured’,” grins the 25-year-old British 5000m champion when asked about his weekend task. “To run in Scotland and to give the half-marathon a try – I know I’m going to have to do this distance in the future but this is just going to be a fun race.”
Butchart will toe the line alongside fellow Scot Callum Hawkins, a convincing winner in Glasgow last year, but has no preconceived ideas of how his first attempt at the 13.1-mile distance will turn out.
“I think it’s a bit harsh for me to set myself a goal when I’ve never done it before,” says Butchart, eighth in the 5000m at the IAAF World Championships in London this summer. “I just want to enjoy it and just see what it’s like. I don’t know if I’m going to race again in Scotland this year, so that’s a major part of my reason for running. The public have given me so much support so I just want to run in front of them, say hi to the crowd and just get involved.
“It’s an unkown for me. I don’t have any expectations at all. I could end up running really fast but I just don’t know.”
It will certainly be intriguing to see how Butchart fares over the longer distance. The man himself is also keen to gauge his fitness levels after only recently returning from a holiday in the south of France with girlfriend and fellow athlete Lynsey Sharp which involved ‘a lot of pastries, a lot of sun’.
“It’s nice to be with Lynsey, she’s a good support,” he says of the relationship. “If one person has a bad day then you can help each other out.”
That mutual support will come in handy as both start the next event cycle with the Commonwealth Games in Australia firmly in mind, not to mention the European Championships in Berlin and the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham.
Butchart is not about to shy away from the fact he’s looking for medals in 2018 – and insists he is far from alone in that regard.
“I think there a lot of people in my position in Scottish athletics and next year is the year where the opportunity lies,” he says. “The Europeans, Commonwealths are not the major majors, the opportunity to get a medal is a little bit easier, and I think I’m more than capable of doing it.”
» The Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run will be televised on BBC Two from 11am until 1.45pm.