RUN­NING IN THE FAM­ILY

Hawkins hopes Farah’s de­ci­sion to re­lin­quish Olympic marathon bid will put brother Derek on Team GB’s radar for Tokyo

Scottish Daily Mail - - City & Finance - by GARY KEOWN

CAL­LUM Hawkins ad­mits to a mild sense of re­lief over Sir Mo Farah’s de­ci­sion to give up his spot in the marathon at next year’s Tokyo Olympics for a re­turn to the 10,000 me­tres.

His over­rid­ing feel­ing, though, is one of hope. Hope that brother Derek can now join him once again on the big­gest stage of all and show­case his tal­ent af­ter see­ing his build-up to a painful ex­pe­ri­ence in Rio 2016 wrecked by a stress frac­ture at the base of his spine.

Cal­lum is ex­pected to be pre-se­lected for Team GB on De­cem­ber 16 af­ter pro­duc­ing an ex­cep­tional per­for­mance in the World Cham­pi­onships in Doha when fin­ish­ing fourth and com­ing within six sec­onds of a medal.

How­ever, when he heard of Farah’s de­ci­sion last Fri­day not to take up one of the three places go­ing for the 26.2mile event, the 27-year-old’s thoughts turned im­me­di­ately to his older sib­ling, who re­turned to the marathon dis­tance in Frank­furt in Oc­to­ber and recorded a per­sonal best of 2:12.49.

‘It maybe makes me a bit more cer­tain for pre-se­lec­tion, which def­i­nitely helps,’ said Cal­lum, who fin­ished ninth in Rio. ‘You feel less un­easy.

‘I think, though, that is more help­ful for my brother. It opens up an­other spot for him to pos­si­bly get in.

‘It would be spe­cial hav­ing two broth­ers to­gether for two Olympic Games in a row. It would be also good for him to go and ac­tu­ally be able to run it fully fit.

‘Last time, he got a stress frac­ture in his sacrum nine weeks out from the marathon. His was ar­guably a bet­ter per­for­mance than mine in terms of just be­ing able to fin­ish it on the day.

‘He didn’t start run­ning un­til two weeks be­fore the race, so he had no ac­tual run­ning be­fore it. He had trained in the pool but, with the marathon, it is the im­pact on the roads that will kill you.’

Cal­lum feels there is more to come from him af­ter that heroic dis­play in Doha and ad­mits pre-se­lec­tion would give him the free­dom to work specif­i­cally on the late-race kick that would heighten his chances of get­ting on the podium.

‘If I am pre-se­lected, I will fo­cus on half-marathons up un­til March to work on my speed and work out the tools it takes to run a championsh­ip marathon with that big surge. Af­ter March, it’s all fo­cus on Tokyo,’ he said.

The Kil­barchan AAC ath­lete, how­ever, is con­cerned by news that the In­ter­na­tional Olympic Com­mit­tee want the marathon to be staged on the fi­nal day of the Games — even though it has been moved to Sap­poro on the northern is­land of Hokkaido.

Tokyo 2020 of­fi­cials have switched the venue in the hope it leads to lower tem­per­a­tures than those ex­pected in the cap­i­tal af­ter 28 of the 68 com­peti­tors in the women’s marathon in Doha dropped out be­cause of the heat, and 18 of the 73-strong men’s field failed to make it home. Hawkins, though, sees is­sues with try­ing to se­cure the same kind of sup­port team that helped him ex­e­cute his race plan at the Worlds when Team GB will have a full squad of track and field ath­letes com­pet­ing 600 miles away in Tokyo.

‘If I am hon­est, I think it (mov­ing the race) was a little bit of a knee-jerk re­ac­tion af­ter Doha,’ he added. ‘I’ve looked at past av­er­age tem­per­a­tures in Sap­poro and it still has the po­ten­tial to be as bad. By the looks of things, the IOC are pretty much cer­tain it is go­ing to be on the last day and the big­gest worry will be get­ting team staff to come and help with the in­di­vid­ual ath­letes — hav­ing them on drinks sta­tions and what­not.

‘It is usu­ally hard enough get­ting them to the drinks sta­tions when it is close to the event never mind 600 miles away.

‘Hope­fully, the IOC might be a little more le­nient in giv­ing passes out and you could pos­si­bly have vol­un­teers that the ath­letes know to help with the drinks sta­tions.

‘The big thing in hav­ing peo­ple on the drinks sta­tions is ac­tu­ally be­ing handed the bot­tle.

‘There will prob­a­bly be more ath­letes on the start line at the Olympics than in Doha, so try­ing to get a drink off the ta­ble is go­ing to be pretty tough. Other coun­tries are a bit more loose and wild with things than Bri­tain. In Rio, we didn’t have any­one at the fi­nal drinks station and I couldn’t see my bot­tle be­cause the team man­ager be­side us was ba­si­cally out on the course block­ing my line of sight. ‘Get­ting your own, per­son­alised drinks is key in those con­di­tions. ‘Hav­ing phys­i­ol­o­gists and sports sci­en­tists help­ing you be­fore the race is a big thing, too.’

Bond of broth­ers: Cal­lum would love to see his brother Derek (far left) lin­ing up along­side him for the Olympic marathon

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