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Hawkins makes top ten on Olympic marathon debut

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21st August 2016


Young Callum Hawkins (Robert Hawkins) ran a race way better than anyone could have expected as he finished ninth in the Rio 2016 Olympic Marathon.

Hawkins showed how confident he was in his preparations for his first Olympic Games and only his third marathon, as he went to the front around halfway as the pace began to slow. Knowing his best chance would come in a more true run race, the 24 year old wanted to keep the pace honest as he led for a couple of kilometres at a time on two separate occasions.

Just before the 30km mark the pace really started to pick up, and it was at this point Hawkins got detached from very small, elite group of runners who were to contest the medals. But once again the youngster showed maturity beyond his years as he stuck to his task and over the next 10km started to pick off a number of the runners who had fallen off the pace being set by the leaders.

At the 40km mark the Kilbarchan athlete was up to seventh, but he lost a couple of places as his legs finally started to tire in the last few minutes of the race.

None-the-less, Callum Hawkins was rightfully delighted with his ninth place finish in 2.11.52.

“I was just running at my own pace.  They kept surging and every time we hit a corner or drinks station they just kept surging, so I was just trying to maintain my pace and I kept getting caught in the middle and having to jostle for position, so I went to the front and ran at my own pace.  I thought it would be me hopefully catching everyone, but I’m quite pleased to have led.

“I felt really, really comfortable, hence why I was at the front.  I maybe went a bit too early, I went with 7km to go and a few of them managed to catch me at the end in the last three or four km. 

“Top 10 was the big goal, that’s what I was going for and just to get that first Olympics is very good.  It’s a bit annoying as my legs were going, I think aerobically I have got it, but just give me a couple more years at the marathon.”

After a troubled build up, Callum’s older brother Derek Hawkins (Hawkins) did well to finish, although he will be disappointed with his 114th place finish in 2.29.24, some 15 minutes down on his personal best.

He was very proud of his younger brother’s achievement though.

“I saw Callum come through on the opposite side of the road, so I enjoyed that, but my own experience was pretty rough going.  It was just one foot in front of the other and get it done.  I was very proud of Callum, in the last year he’s just come on leaps and bounds. It was a great run by him.”

In terms of his own race, the Scot said “I got to 22km and my legs just seized up.  I only started running 11 days ago and the furthest run I’ve done is 18km, so aerobically the fitness was there, but the legs just didn’t have enough time to get back.  The second half of the race was just about getting to the finish.”

Tsegai Tewelde (John MacKay) was hampered by plantar fasciitis both in his preparations and on the day, meaning the third of the three Scots in action was unable to finish.