Stumbling across the road before eventually collapsing to the ground not once, but twice, Callum Hawkins’ hopes of a Commonwealth Games marathon title evaporated in the blazing sunshine, writes Phil Jones on the Gold Coast.
The 25-year-old from Paisley looked set for a maiden Commonwealth title and led the field by more than two minutes with just two kilometres to go.
But with temperatures touching 30 degrees and 60 per cent humidity, his condition rapidly deteriorated in the closing stages and he ended up requiring medical assistance at the roadside.
Initially zig-zagging across the course he discarded his cap to try and lighten the load but just a few paces later he was struggling to put one foot in front of the other and stumbled to the ground.
Hawkins was quickly back on his feet but no more than 100m further on he hit the deck for a second time, only just missing a metal roadside barrier with his head as he fell.
He attempted to get back to his feet but lacked the strength to do so and eventually slumped to the ground with medical assistance seemingly taking an age to reach him.
Australia’s Michael Shelley ran past the stricken leader, who by this point was being tended to, shortly after as the hometown athlete went on to triumph, with Hawkins’ fellow Scot Robbie Simpson also passing him to take third on the line in a time of 2:19.36, almost three minutes behind Shelley.
“I’m absolutely delighted to get the bronze medal but I’m disappointed Callum couldn’t make it to the end because he was going so well and I really felt bad passing him lying on the ground,” said the 26-year-old.
“It was really sad. I’ve spent the last four weeks with Callum and he’s been great for me, giving me confidence and showing me how the top guys prepare for big races.
“I learned a lot from Callum and it got me going at halfway when they said Callum was in the lead.
“I was thinking that I wanted to get to the end just so I can be part of the Scottish team and do the whole team proud.
“I saw him lying there and wanted to stop to see if he was alright.
“But at the same time I wasn’t feeling that great myself and thinking I need to get to the line before the same thing happens to me and hold on to a medal.
“I heard he is a bit better so I really hope he’s alright.”
Team Scotland media representatives confirmed Hawkins was sitting up, responsive and ‘doing better’.
England claimed three medals in the T54 wheelchair marathons as John Smith took silver in the men’s, ahead of compatriot Simon Lawson.
While in the women’s event Jade Jones made it two Commonwealth Games medals on debut, following up her para-triathlon gold with marathon bronze.
Scotland’s Samantha Kinghorn came home fourth in the women’s race.
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