LAURA Muir set a European record on Saturday, with her 3000 metres triumph in Germany the highlight of a stellar weekend for Scottish athletes. Indeed Muir’s compatriots delivered world leading performances over three distances on three different continents.
The most recent came yesterday as Callum Hawkins set the pace at the Kagawa Marugame International Half Marathon in Japan, beating the Scottish half-marathon record in the process.
Anyone following Scottish athletics was still trying to catch their breath as he crossed the line, having been left breathless by Muir almost 24 hours earlier. She beat the 3,000m indoor records for Scotland, the UK and Europe as she recorded a quite stunning win over Hellen Obiri in Germany – crossing the line in 8.36.41.
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But even the 23-year-old was playing catch up as an hour earlier across the Atlantic in New Year, Andy Butchart had clocked 3.54.24 to win the Armory Invitational Mile event.
It was a time which allowed him to take second place on the Scottish all-time list and third on the British list.
Those exploits perhaps put added pressure on Hawkins to deliver in Japan. But he showed little anxiety to race to a new Scottish record time in the half marathon with 60.00. His time takes Hawkins to fourth on the European all-time list and second on the British list.
The three athletes now lead the world rankings in their respective events, while there was further cause for optimism elsewhere in the field. Guy Learmonth, Lynsey Sharp and Allan Smith all delivered promising performances to further add to the feel-good factor in Scottish athletics.
The focus was always likely to fall on Muir, however, The Scot continued her superb record-breaking form in Karlsruhe on Saturday evening and moved fifth on the world all-time list.
The 23-year-old had clocked 14:49.12 to improve the British indoor 5,000m record in Glasgow last month – and she followed that up by storming to victory at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meet in Germany, beating Olympic 5000m silver medallist Obiri. That became even more impressive after it emerged that Obiri also improved her own Kenyan record with a time of 8:29.46.
Muir has now left the likes of Liz McColgan – the previous Scottish record holder – and erstwhile British record holder Jo Pavey trailing behind her.
Hawkins, meanwhile, smashed the Scottish half-marathon record. His time officially puts the 24-year-old second on the British all-time list behind only Sir Mo Farah, the British Olympic hero.
Hawkins was dominant throughout the race, beating Ethiopian record-holder Atsedu Tsegay with 60:58 only days after the Great Scottish Run re-measurement.
Hawkins had run what – initially, at least – appeared to be a Scottish record-breaking half-marathon time in Glasgow, as he clocked 60:24 at the Great Scottish Run. However, when it was confirmed last week that the course had been 149.7m short, the ‘record’ became invalid.
Not this time. Hawkins – who finished ninth at the Olympics – snatched the record as he stormed to success in Japan, recording back-to-back 10K PBs of 28:28 and 28:27 before crossing the finishing line with one hour exactly on the clock.
Allister Hutton’s previous Scottish record mark had been 62:28, set in the 1987 Great North Run. The 149 metres short distance equated to around 26 seconds at Hawkins’ pace, and so would likely have been the equivalent of a sub-61 performance.
Meanwhile, Sharp featured among an impressive field at the 600m race in New York and finished fourth with 1.27.16.
Learmonth also impressed with another PB in Germany, running at 1.47.04 to improve his time in third place on the Scottish all-time, while high jumper Allan Smith set a season’s best jump of 2.26m.