Olympic marathon runner Callum Hawkins enjoying new opportunities

Callum Hawkins finished ninth in the marathon at the Rio Olympics
Callum Hawkins finished ninth in the marathon at the Rio Olympics

Olympian Callum Hawkins says he is enjoying the opportunities that have come his way as he continues to make his mark as a long-distance runner.

Hawkins, 24, came to prominence after finishing ninth in the Rio Olympics marathon, and in 2017 his career has gone from strength to strength.

He is preparing for this summer's World Athletics Championships in London.

"I'm hoping to improve upon what I did at the Olympics and just keep the ball rolling," he told BBC Scotland.

Hawkins came second at this year's Great Edinburgh International Cross Country
Hawkins came second at this year's Great Edinburgh International Cross Country

In January, at the Great Edinburgh International Cross Country, the Kilbarchan athlete became the first British runner to beat Mo Farah in any race for seven years. The following month he smashed the Scottish half-marathon record in Japan.

Hawkins is still coming to terms with his achievement in Rio and his recent successes, and acknowledges that his competitors will now also be aware of his capabilities.

"It's not quite hit me yet," he said of his standing in the sport.

"It might hit me closer to the champs (World Championships) but I'll just go out and do what I do."

While his training routine may be unchanged, Hawkins is enjoying the "pretty big changes" in his life since Rio, namely the greater interest in him from the media and sponsors and the invitations to bigger races.

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Marathon runner Callum Hawkins enjoying spotlight post-Olympics

Hawkins is feeling in good shape ahead of the summer's World Championships after "a decent stint" at altitude in Colorado, "training under the watchful eye of the legend Steve Jones".

The former marathon world record holder, whom Hawkins describes as "hard as nails", is now based in Boulder and Hawkins trained under him as part of a Scottish Athletics training programme.

"He was a tough competitor and didn't really care what people thought about him," said Hawkins of his role model.

Back in Scotland after his stint in the United States, Hawkins is preparing for the World Championships with two races, the first of which is the Great Manchester 10K, and gruelling training sessions.

"I'm doing a 10K and a half marathon, but it's mainly just training and ramping up the miles, doing 20-plus miles sessions," he said.

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