Mo Farah beware, Callum Hawkins wants to secure his place as the best of British on the road.
Farah will call time on the track after these World Championships but Hawkins isn’t about to play a supporting role to the six-time world and four-time Olympic champion as he resets his focus on the marathon.
Hawkins produced a storming run to finish fourth in the World Championship marathon, equalling the best British men’s result from 22 years ago, when Peter Whitehead just missed the medals in Gothenburg.
Boston Marathon winner Geoffrey Kirui gave Kenya a record fifth men’s world title, getting the better of a tussle with Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola to cross the line on Tower Bridge in two hours, 8.27 minutes
Tanzania’s Alphonce Simbu took bronze with Hawkins clocking a personal best time of two hours 10.17 minutes in fourth.
“It is exciting times for British marathon running but hopefully Mo will be seeing my back,” said Hawkins, who finished ninth on his Olympic debut in Rio last summer.
“Obviously Mo is a world-class athlete and hopefully it will be a good head-to-head and bring some more attention to British marathon running, which is really exciting.
“I feel I can compete with these guys. I’m only 25, so give me a few more years to be at my peak. It’s onto the Commonwealth Games now and then it’s all about the Olympics in Tokyo.”
Hawkins is only the fourth British male athlete to make the top ten at the World Championships, following Whitehead, Hugh Jones and Richard Neuraker.
There were some pre-race concerns when he pulled out of his preparation half marathon with heat stroke but a solid block of altitude training put him back on track.
“Am I made up with that? Yes and no, it’s certainly bittersweet,” added Hawkins. “I wanted to sneak a medal and to see the bronze medallist ahead of me as I was finishing was a bit tough to take. I gave it everything and I couldn’t do anymore.
“I wanted that medal, I knew I could be close and it was always in my mind. There were some quality athletes out there and usually some of the big guys don’t turn up in the big championship marathons but they all did unfortunately.
“I’m just a bit annoyed, perhaps I should have covered the leaders’ move but if I’d gone with them I probably wouldn’t have finished or I’d have walked across the line.”
You can help the next generation of young British athletes by getting involved in SportsAid Week this September with London 2012 hero Greg Rutherford MBE. Find out more about how you can support the week of fun and fundraising by visiting www.sportsaid.org.uk/sportsaidweek.