A top athlete put past demons behind him as he broke the Scottish record in the 39th London Marathon yesterday.
Callum Hawkins was competing in his first event over the 26.2 miles distance since hitting the headlines for the wrong reason, after collapsing with heat exhaustion during the 2018 Commonwealth Games race in Australia’s Gold Coast last April.
The 26-year-old from Elderslie in Renfrewshire, finished 10th in two hours, eight minutes and 14 seconds, smashing his personal best by two minutes and beating Alistair Hutton’s 1985 previous, Scottish record of 2:09:16.
Last year, in temperatures approaching 30C, the Scot was leading the Commonwealth Games marathon when he began to look unsteady on his feet.
Falling once, he got back up and continued before a second fall moments later crossing a bridge just over a mile from the finish line ended his race and he was eventually taken to hospital for treatment.
“It was almost like going into a car that had been sitting in the heat all day,” recalled Hawkins.
“The last thing I remember was putting every ounce of effort to get back on my feet and I just couldn’t do it - it was as if I was really drunk.”
Yesterday’s performance guarantees Hawkins a place in the team for the World Championships in Doha later this year and thrusts him into contention for one of the three GB Olympic spots, finishing inside the qualifying time.
He said: “It was really tough, it was windy about three quarters of the way around.
“I had a funny moment when I hit 40km but I managed to get myself back together.
“It’s a good stepping stone for whatever I choose towards the end of the year.
“Hopefully it is the worlds and hopefully I will be pushing for a medal and be in even better condition.”
Hawkins fellow Scot, Sir Andy Murray fired the gun to start the event.
Murray’s former coach French tennis star Amelie Mauresmo, said: “Every marathon I have run so far, at the finish line, I’ve said I will never do another marathon and I certainly feel like that now.
“I’m pleased to have done London and the crowds were incredible but it was a really tough race for me.
“I’m happy with my time but disappointed not to break my fastest time.”
Eliud Kipchoge won the men’s race with a new course record and second fastest time ever, while Sir Mo Farah finished fifth.
Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei won the women’s race with compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot coming in second - a role reversal from last year when she beat Kosgei to the crown.
Money raised from the event topped £1bn since it started in 1981, according to race sponsors Virgin Money.
More than 40,000 runners, some dressed as giraffes, bells, cars and even Big Ben, took to the streets of the capital.
In the women’s race, Charlotte Purdue thrust herself into World Championship contention by finishing 10th in a new personal best.
The 27-year-old Scot took almost four minutes off her best to finish as the leading Briton, running 2:25:38 for third-fastest ever British women’s marathon.
Her time was also within the qualifying mark for the Tokyo Olympics.
“I am over the moon; to smash my personal best is all I could to ask for,” she said.