By Craig Gamble & Christopher Duffy
Scotland’s Callum Hawkins ended his country’s 33-year wait for a home winner of the Great Scottish Run on Sunday – then celebrated with an ice-cold beer.
Hawkins smashed the course record on his way to first place – as well as his own 5k personal best – clocking an incredible time of 60 minutes 24 seconds.
He then posted a picture of a bottle of Stella Artois on his personal Twitter account with the caption: “I think I earned this today.”
Speaking exclusively to UWS Newsroom, the former UWS student said: “I’m over the moon.
“The aim going into the race was to win, I didn’t care about anything else.”
The 24-year-old managed to go one better than he did in last year’s Great Scottish Run, defeating Ugandan Moses Kipsiro– the man who beat him 12 months ago– and feels that his training for the Rio Olympics was key to him reversing the result.
Hawkins added: “Second wasn’t an option for me this time.
“I think the difference this year has been down to the training I done for the marathon (in Rio).
“It allowed me to become a lot stronger than I was this time last year, and I think that the confidence that I gained from the Olympics has also played a huge part.”
The young athlete turned in a fantastic performance in this summer’s Rio Olympic marathon to finish in ninth place, and said: “The experience in Rio was one of the best things that has ever happened to me.
“It showed me that I am able to go out there and compete with the best runners in the world.”
However, breaking the record for his home half-marathon– held previously by long distance legend Haile Gebrselassie– was something that even Hawkins himself hadn’t considered.
He said: “I thought going into it that I would have to run a Scottish record to win but I never focused on the time during the race.
“I was hoping for something close to 62 minutes or even 61, but I never thought I would go under 61.
“It was a complete surprise when I looked up at the clock in the home straight and it said 60.”
Tens of thousands of people took part in the event in Glasgow over the weekend, which culminated with the 10k and half-marathon races on Sunday.
Thousands also lined the streets of the city to cheer on all of the competitors, and the support was something that Hawkins paid tribute to.
He said: “The crowds in Glasgow are always great as they showed at Glasgow 2014 (Commonwealth Games).
“To win in front of a home crowd was incredible, the noise coming up the Green was deafening.”
Entries are now open for next year’s Great Scottish Run on 1st October, where Callum will be looking to defend his crown.
Photo credit: Jeff Holmes @jeffholmes24