CALLUM Hawkins and Andrew Butchart will battle it out to be top Scot in this weekend at the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run.
Hawkins, who last year became the first Scottish athlete to win the half marathon in 23 years, will go up against countryman Butchart, who is making his debut over 13.1 miles.
The pair, both 25, are the flagbearers for Scotland’s resurgence in distance running, with Hawkins the Scottish half marathon record holder, and Butchart holder of the 3,000m and 5,000m national records.
Hawkins, who finished fourth in the summer’s World Athletics Championship marathon in London, saw his winning 2016 time in Glasgow annulled due to a course measuring error, but went on to use that as a motivation as he smashed the Scottish record in Marugame this year.
He said: “If anything that performance last year gave me confidence going into 2017 itself.
“It was frustrating that when the news came out, everyone seemed to write it off as if I was still a 62, 63 minute guy when I knew I wasn’t.”
He said of the battle with Butchart: “I have no idea what shape he’s in. I have no idea what shape I’m in so we’ll see.
“I’m looking forward to the race. It’s my home city, the crowds are always big. They know how to put a sporting event. Sport in Scotland and Britain is on the up and up and everyone gets behind it. You will see on Sunday the crowds - it’s going to be great.”
Butchart, the Dunblane athlete, finished sixth in the Rio Olympics 5,000m final and eighth behind Mo Farah in the 5,000m in London this summer, and will use the Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run as a kick-starter for his winter training.
Butchart said: “I’ve not ran a half-marathon before. I’m not going to say there’d be a sprint finish – it’s an unknown for me. I just want to try and enjoy it.”
Elsewhere in the men’s field, European silver medallist Chris Thompson and last year’s Great South Run winner Chris Thompson returns to Glasgow to take on the Scottish pair, while international competition comes from Romanian Marius Ionescu, and Scottish-based Eritrean pair Tewolde Menigsteab and Tsegezab Woldemichael.
The Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Run is broadcast live on BBC Two from 11am on Sunday.
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