Callum Hawkins and Robbie Simpson at the start of the Gold Coast 2018 marathon in Australia (photo by Bobby Gavin)
Callum Hawkins and Robbie Simpson will toe the line at the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday morning – with Doha on their minds.
It’s the British Championships and 2019 World Champs trials with the top two Brits under the required 2.13 Men’s standard booking their places for later in the year.
Para runner Derek Rae, meanwhile, has firm podium targets as he competes again in the IPC World Marathon Cup once again after taking gold in his classification last year.
And while Steph Twell isn’t racing on Sunday, the European and Commonwealth Games track medallist may well have an eye on the Senior Women’s trial race in London with Steph sitting second in the British rankings and inside the required 2.31 for Doha.
London always commands attention and there will be storylines aplenty to augment the significant interest in World Record holder Eliud Kipchoge facing Mo Farah in his own backyard. Kipchoge, who set 2.01.29 in Berlin last autumn, is chasing a record fourth win in London.
Callum, of course, is no stranger to the London routes either, after fine runs in the past in both this event and the London 2017 World Champs when he took a superb fourth place.
It will be a first marathon for the Kilbarchan AAC athlete since that fateful day in Australia 12 months ago and Callum is desperate to change the narrative.
‘The aim is to run fast enough that people forget what happened in the Gold Coast,’ said Callum.
‘Some people have had big ‘catastrophes’ like that and they’ve not been the same. My body is feeling good in training but it’s just actually doing it in a race to say ‘I’m back’.
‘I’ve run personal bests at altitude in training and I’m aiming for a PB in London. I’m not sure where that’ll get me but I reckon if I can run how I know I can I’ll be pretty far up there.’
Robbie Simpson, for his part, took bronze that day in Gold Coast with a terrific run in the conditions. Robbie has a couple of 2.15 runs to his name prior to that and needs to shave off a couple of minutes to make the Doha standard (2.13).
His PB is 2.15.04 from London two years ago when he landed selection for the World Champs before then being forced to withdraw through injury.
As well as elite athletes there are a string of Scottish men and women set to race London as they represent their clubs – including recent National 10-Mile and 10,000m track medallist, Avril Mason of Shettleston (among many others).
World Cup gold medallist in 2018, Derek Rae of Fife AC competes in the T46 classification for athletes with an arm impairment.
Derek – who earlier this year attended an altitude training camp in Kenya – will be seeking another successful race around the streets of London, the location of his career best time of 2.33.24 back in 2017.