Callum Hawkins believes another four years of clocking up the miles will pay dividends at the Olympics in Tokyo.
Hawkins delivered on his target with a top-ten marathon finish in Rio, coming home ninth in 2:11:52, the best British performance in the event since Jon Brown’s fourth in Athens 12 years ago.
After his 12th place in Frankfurt and eighth at the London Marathon, the 24-year-old from Kilbarchan arrived in Rio with cautious optimism about his chances.
Grey skies, cool temperatures and light drizzle must have reminded him of home too, as Kenyan favourite Eliud Kipchoge, who won in London this year, dominated the race to take gold.
Hawkins admitted the toil of a demanding training programme and race schedule conspired against him. But, he insists, another four years will give him a better chance at becoming the first British marathon Olympic medallist since Charlie Spedding in 1984.
“Top ten was the big goal. That was what I was going for. So to get that at my first Olympics is really good,” he said.
“Hopefully I can go a lot further but the marathon is such an unpredictable sport and you don’t know when is going to be your last one.
“I’ll take a break from marathons now because that’s three in ten months which is quite a lot for a 24-year old.
“It was a bit annoying that it was my legs that were going. I think I need a couple more years at the marathon. My legs are all over the place now. I was overheating a bit towards the end but I’m still really pleased.”
Older brother Derek, 27, finished 114th in a time of 2:29:24 after a difficult build-up of niggles and injuries.
He was keeping on his desired pace until just past halfway when his legs seized up, making for an uncomfortable end to his race.
And despite his own difficulties, Hawkins still found time to cheer his younger brother. “I am very proud of Callum,” he said. “The last year he just seems to have come on leaps and bounds.He has really adapted to marathon training.
“Obviously I was a bit apprehensive for him because it was his third marathon in ten months and he is only 24 years old now so I was concerned how he would cope but it was a great run from him.
Meanwhile, it was also a difficult afternoon for the third member of Britain’s marathon team in Rio. Eritrean-born, Edinburgh-based Tsegai Tewelde failed to finish the race after struggling, pulling out just after halfway.