In mud so thick it made treacle feel like water, Callum Hawkins engaged his personal four-wheel drive and ploughed through Callendar Park in Falkirk to claim his second national cross-country title with ease, an ideal primer as he maintains his push towards the summer’s world championships.
London in August should feel a breeze by comparison. So testing were the conditions that organisers were forced to decide at dawn whether the thousands signed up should instead be kept at bay.
Kilbarchan’s Olympian, recently returned from lowering the Scottish half-marathon record in Japan, admitted even he only fully opted in yesterday morning for what was his final warm-up for another forthcoming 13-mile outing, this time in New York.
“If it was going to be minging weather, it probably would have taken too much out of me,” admitted Hawkins, pictured, whose 10km time of 33 minutes and 34 seconds left him well clear of Dundee Hawkhill’s Kris Jones and Shettleston’s Lachlan Oates. “But I needed a little tuning up between Japan and New York. The last three years I’ve gone for it, but you can’t race all the time. When you’re at the top end, you don’t want to tire yourself out. But it is still fun to come and race where it all started.”
Morag MacLarty was an equally dominant victor in the women’s race in 38:32, ending up 67 seconds clear of Beth Potter whose challenge was neutered by a fall and a foot problem. “I was pleasantly surprised by how it panned out,” said MacLarty, whose career since winning the European junior 1500m title 12 years ago has been bedevilled by injuries. “It’s been downhill with wee uphills every now and again.”
Broc Drury of Aberdeen and Victoria Park’s Gillian Black claimed the Under-20 titles with Central AC landing both senior team golds.