Under crystal blue skies and just past McLennan Arch, Glasgow welcomed a new hero in Callum Hawkins as the 24-year-old became the first Scot to claim victory at the Great Scottish Run's feature event, the half marathon. Hawkins capped what was a memorable day in the national racing calendar as runners made their way from a misty George Square to a sunshine-streaked Glasgow Green, following over 8,000 taking part in the 10K earlier in the morning.
After impressive showings at London and Rio over marathon distance, Hawkins seemed well placed to mount a challenge. Sounds emanating from Moses Kipsiro’s camp suggested the Ugandan went into today’s event below race fitness, with defence of his title under threat.
As it turned out, the talented Hawkins, spurred on by a rapturous home crowd, clocked 60:24 – 17 seconds quicker than Kipsiro’s time last year – to set not just a course record but the second fastest Great British half marathon time in history. Kipsiro secured second in 60:54, with Joel Kimutai third (61:34).
Reflecting on his win, Hawkins said: “I can’t put it into words. This time last year I was trying to get into the Olympic team, so to have gone top 10 in the Olympics, then run a half marathon in 60.24, I think it just shows that Tokyo 2020 is going to be a good time for me. Second wasn’t an option today, I went out to win it, that was my aim.”
The women’s competition also saw a new champion and course record holder in Betsy Saina, who finished first in 67:22, well ahead of Helah Kiprop and Doris Changeiywo who clocked 68:52 and 71:34 respectively. In addition to becoming the fastest ever female at the GSR, Saina’s time was a substantial PB too, more than two minutes ahead of her previous record (69:29).
As ever, the Great Scottish Run drew transformed the city as over 30,000 people competed in events over the course of the weekend, which included Saturday’s Toddler Dash, Family Mile and Junior Run. Today, club, recreational, charity and first-time runners made their way through some of Glasgow’s best known streets before entering Glasgow Green to reach the tree-lined finish straight in the shadow of Nelson’s Monument.
One of those taking part was Matt Cowan, 56, from Glasgow, in what was his first GSR. Matt was full of praise for race organisers, those who offered encouraging words and summed up what turned out to be an even more testing day due to the conditions: “The day started off foggy and freezing cold (glad I brought old clothes to put in the charity bin) and ended up warm and sunny, particularly when moving out of the tree shade in Pollok Park.
“Music along the route was great, loved the belly dancers in Govan! Great support from marshals – particular thanks to the female marshal in Bellahouston Park who cheered us on with whistles, clackers and plenty of encouragement. The Glasgow support was fantastic and really pushed you along, especially at the last 1.5 miles, I must have low-fived about 50 kids along the route.”
Results for the Great Scottish Run event at the runABC Scotland race listings page.