Cardiff tune-up keeps Hawkins tick­ing over ahead of Olympic trial

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FINAL SAY - MARK WOODS

CAL­LUM HAWKINS be­lieves his ef­forts at the IAAF world halfmarathon cham­pi­onships in Cardiff were the per­fect re­hearsal ahead of next month’s Olympic marathon trial.

The 23-year-old Scot pulled out a late charge to fin­ish 15th in 62 min­utes and 51 sec­onds as Mo Farah be­came the first Bri­tish medal­list in the event since 1993 by land­ing bronze be­hind Kenya’s Ge­of­frey Kam­woror. And Hawkins – whose brother Derek com­pleted his own build-up for the se­lec­tion race with vic­tory in the ad­join­ing mass event – claims his fi­nal tune-up can put him on track for Rio.

“This was cer­tainly a big tester ahead of Lon­don,” he said. “It threw me into the marathon zone so it was re­ally use­ful. This race was dif­fer­ent to the usual half-marathon cir­cuit. There are a lot more guys in there so I could just keep pick­ing peo­ple off today and we got a good group go­ing which is bet­ter than be­ing on your own.”

A dis­ap­pointed Farah now plans to re­turn to his Ore­gon base to pre­pare for the de­fence of his two Olympic ti­tles this sum­mer.

And in tough con­di­tions, he ad­mit­ted he had no an­swer for Kam­woror who re­peated his 2014 tri­umph de­spite fall­ing at the start to un­der­line he will be a sig­nif­i­cant threat to the Bri­ton on the track in Brazil. The Kenyan set a new cham­pi­onship record of 59 min­utes 10 sec­onds.

“With great sup­port from the home crowd it would have been nice to have come here and get the win but a bet­ter ath­lete won on the day,” said Farah af­ter run­ning 59 min­utes 59 sec­onds, the fastest time by a Euro­pean this year. “Those guys were strong, they went for it and I couldn’t quite keep with them. I looked at the 10k pace and they were just go­ing for it, then for quite a bit of it I was on my own.

“It’s very dif­fi­cult run­ning alone and with­out a team up with you but it’s one of those things – you just have to go with it.”

Farah re­mains very much fo­cused on de­liv­er­ing again on the track in Brazil in Au­gust. He added: “Rio is def­i­nitely the aim. The guys are go­ing to be strong in Rio, so I am go­ing to work hard and this has just given me mas­sive mo­ti­va­tion.”

Peres Jepchirchir, mean­while, made it a Kenyan dou­ble with vic­tory in the women’s race in a time of 67:31.

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