Callum Hawkins thrills crowds at Cumbernauld XC relays

Cumbernauld AAC's Ross McEachern, Paul McMonagle and Vincent Carroll (trio on the right) after receiving their medals. (Pic: Bobby Gavin/Scottish Athletics)
Cumbernauld AAC's Ross McEachern, Paul McMonagle and Vincent Carroll (trio on the right) after receiving their medals. (Pic: Bobby Gavin/Scottish Athletics)

Marathon man Callum Hawkins was the star attraction when the Lindsays National XC Relays returned to Cumbernauld for a 19th year.

The Olympian’s presence thrilled the big crowds who once again turned out in force to support the event and the runners.

Callum Hawkins in action at Cumbernauld (pic Bobby Gavin/Scottish Athletics)

Callum Hawkins in action at Cumbernauld (pic Bobby Gavin/Scottish Athletics)

And local fans had something to cheer as well as the Cumbernauld AAC trio of Ross McEachern, Paul McMonagle and Vincent Carroll took the bronze in the V50 category.

Hawkins returned to his cross country roots as he raced across the mud and hills of Cumbernauld in his first outing since his superb - but agonising - performance in the IAAF World Champs marathon ended with fourth place in Doha.

And his presence, as well as pleasing the spectators, helped his club Kilbarchan to second place in the senior men’s race behind Central AC, winners for the seventh time in eight years.

Inverclyde AC were third while Edinburgh Uni Hare and Hounds made it four in a row with senior women’s gold, ahead of Edinburgh AC and Giffnock North.

In the V50 race Cumbernauld were third behind Perth Road Runners and Cambuslang, while other winners were Giffnock North (Young Males), Fife AC (Young Females), Corstorphine AAC (Men’s Masters), Bellahouston Road Runners (Women’s Masters) and Edinburgh AC (W50).

Hawkins admitted afterwards that changing to the chilly Cumbernauld climate only three weeks after racing in the sweltering heat of Doha was something of a shock to the system.

He said: “I could have been quicker today. I’ve had hardly any running since the World Champs.

“I set off on the first straight before the opening hill and the cold air caught me straight in the chest. It’s not what I’ve been used to recently and of course I’ve had a fair bit of down time since Doha.

“But it was great to wear the club vest again for Kilbarchan and the noise and support out on the course for all the athletes was absolutely terrific.

“I loved the support and the crowds because Scottish cross country events are where it all began for me. It’s great to see the level the events are reaching and the numbers now involved.”