The 24-year-old, who came ninth in the marathon at Rio 2016, pulled away from defending champion Moses Kipsiro to win in 60 minutes and 24 seconds, smashing the Scottish half-marathon record by more than two minutes and moving second behind Mo Farah in the UK all-time list.
It capped a superb year for the Kilbarchan runner, with brilliant marathon efforts in Frankfurt and London in the lead-in to Brazil and then an incredible showing on the biggest stage of all.
His mark, which was two minutes faster than his previous best at the half-marathon distance, further solidified his place as one of the country’s hottest prospects.
“I had a bit of pain early on but I’m over the moon at that,” Hawkins said. “I’d no idea what time I was on for. I thought the mile markers were out because I was just running to try and win. I was hoping for closer to 62 but I didn’t think I could get anywhere near 61, let alone break it.”
Kipsiro was 30 seconds back with fellow Kenyan Joel Kimutai third – with another Rio Olympian, Tsegai Tewelde, in seventh. Hawkins, who also took a second off his 10km personal best en route, picked his spot to pull away from the Commonwealth 10,000m champion with two miles left.
“Luckily I raced Moses last year so I knew what to expect,” he said. “But he’s a quality athlete. Just having him trying to hang on really spurred me to put the boot in.”
Betsy Saina led a Kenyan sweep of the podium in the women’s race, taking victory in 67:22 ahead of Helah Kiprop and Doris Changeiywo with Beth Potter fifth. “I’m happy with that,” said the Scot, who will now target December’s European cross-country championships.
Swansea Harrier Jonathan Hopkins won the men’s 10k with Great Britain internationalist Jo Moultrie coasting to victory in the women’s race in 34:19. The Scot, 25, will train her sights on making March’s European indoors in Belgrade after her final appearance at the world’s in Portland last winter. But she’s vowed to find the extra gear needed to make sure she’s in the frame for Gold Coast 2018 despite the wealth of talent running the 5,000m.
“Next year with Commonwealth qualifying – and having missed Glasgow with only one standard – I don’t want to be in the position of missing out,” Moultrie said.
“I’ve been doing things even outside of running to improve. I want to get used to being uncomfortable and throw in a few longer races and try a few new things.”