IT was, says Callum Hawkins, a “hell of a performance”. But it was all rather overshadowed by a hell of an administrative error.

Few who watched this young man from Elderslie finishing ninth in the Rio Olympic marathon, the highest European finisher, were surprised 12 months back when he also became the first home winner of the Great Scottish Run since 1983. There were, though, a few looks of disbelief that he should do so in a time of 60:24, an effort which wiped away the previous all-time mark for this distance in Scotland set by Ethiopian distance running legend Haile Gebrselassie in 2013.

There were even more quizzical looks when it transpired that 44 of the top 50 finishers, and 92 out of the top 100, had recorded personal bests or season’s bests that fateful day. And when it was established that the course had been 149.7 metres short all along, Hawkins had his place in posterity removed from him. Yet instead of get angry or embarrassed about it, the 25-year-old simply kept running faster. He had run quicker still within a week, and returns to this year’s Great Scottish Run to defend his title with a 60:00 over the distance from Japan in February in the books. With only the forecast inclement weather likely to rain on his parade, few are likely to be surprised if that record is smashed again tomorrow.

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“It was a little bit annoying,” admitted the younger Hawkins sibling, “but it was still a good run. If you add on the 25 seconds for the extra length, it was still a sub-61-minute time.

“That was the most frustrating thing, the people just wrote it off completely because the course was unfortunately that bit short. They were talking about me as if I was still a 63-minute half marathon guy. But it was still a hell of a performance.

“My sessions after it all pointed to the fact that I could do that kind of time. And the week after it I went out and ran even quicker. If anything, that performance gave me confidence for what was to come.”

Assuming all the organisers’ ducks are in a row this time, the real source of fascination for the casual viewer of tomorrow’s race promises to be the latest instalment of one of Scottish distance running’s longest-running rivalries. Dunblane’s Andy Butchart is no stranger to following in Hawkins’ slipstream from his days in the Scottish youth ranks, and now this mile runner and 5,000m track athlete has decided to line up at the start line in George Square himself in his maiden half marathon.

“I have no idea what it’s going to be like racing against Andy,” said Hawkins. “Because I don’t know what shape he’s in - and I don’t really know what shape I’m in, myself. It will be weird. We’ve also got Tsegai [Tewelde], who ran well in the Great North Run. Everybody has forgotten about him. He has just struggled with injury but is getting things back together. I haven’t even looked at the field yet. I don’t like to worry about the competition too much.”

Butchart, perhaps unsurprisingly, is making rather different noises. He finished eight seconds clear of his old adversary to win the Euro Cross trials in Liverpool in November, only for Hawkins to take third place ahead of him when the European Championships in Chia came around. Downplaying expectations or not, this is the kind of flowering rivalry which Scottish athletics will cherish for years to come, particularly when Butchart follows his one-time 5,000m rival Mo Farah and step up onto the marathon later in his career.

“I’m definitely the underdog,” said Butchart. “If we want to go on the track and run a mile, I’ll happily race him over a mile!

“This is his den. We are both beasts, but different beasts. It should be fun to race Callum and we have had a good rivalry at senior level. I don’t know who is ahead or whatever ...

“As juniors Callum was very good, and I wasn’t that great a runner, then I came through quite strong and before we knew it we were the two top dogs in Scottish distance running and cross country,” he added. “I remember last year going into Liverpool, it was all, who is going to win, Callum or Andrew? And I came out on top. Then we ran European Championships and he came out on top.

“If we raced more often it would be a good rivalry. But because he is a marathon runner and I am a miler or 5k on the track we just don’t meet that often. Maybe in the future we will, when I go off the track and onto the road, whenever that does happen, although I’m sure that is a long way away. I think that is just the natural progression for me, look at all the best track athletes, Mo Farah, Bekele, Haile Gebrselassie, they all go from the track to the road so I am pretty sure that is the road I will take too.

“Our ideal race would probably be maybe 10k on the road. But because we both do the same races in ss country we tend to compete against each other. I don’t know if the 10 suits him more or suits me more. Calum is running fantastic, fourth in the world champs is great, and I am sure he will have a lot to give too We will just see what happens, if I stick with Callum this weekend and I feel good then I will happily take it to him, make him run hard.”

That, basically, is what Hawkins always does. This is a man who, like his brother Derek, eschews the glamour lifestyle for the hard yards on the cycle paths over the moors between Elderslie and Lochwinnoch. Only sometimes does he get recognised. “I tend to keep myself to myself, do my talking in races,” he said. “I’ll always be like that. I do most of my running just outside Paisley, on the cycle track from Elderslie to Lochwinnoch. The odd runner will recognise me. Most of the time I have to get past dog walkers - I spend a lot of time jumping over dogs! There is the odd cyclist, too, but nothing too major.

“It’s great to race in my home city,” he added. “I always claim Glasgow as my home city. It’s easier when you’re abroad to say Glasgow than have to explain to them where Elderslie is!”