Forcibly reshaped to sidestep a pandemic, the London Marathon takes place in splendid bio-secure isolation this morning, devoid of fans, of natural ambience, of the spectacle of witnessing the world’s best scamper past myriad landmarks en route to The Mall.

Originally destined in 2020 to double up as the British Olympic trial, that competitive resonance has been brutally stripped away. Yet it is an event whose legend has not waned since Philippides gasped his last at the conclusion of a heroic run from the battlefields to Athens two-and-a-half millennia ago.

A script has been drafted, though, for an intriguing next chapter closer to home, a plot devised to capitalise on Scotland’s current fleet of achievers – led by Callum Hawkins – as a seed to nurture others down the road.

The Marathon Project has grand destinations in mind, declares Robert Hawkins, one of the key driving forces behind it.

“We’ve got a great top level now with [sons] Callum, Derek, Robbie Simpson and the two Stephs – Twell and Davis,” he says. “But we’re looking to expand the depth underneath that and bring athletes through by helping them make the transition.”

About 15 acorns have been planted in the programme since it was established by Scottish Athletics at the turn of the year. Striking, understandably, while the iron remains hot among a Caledonian corps that goes all the way down to Laura Muir and Jake Wightman and back up to every distance above.

Expertise is offered in tandem with encouragement. Some financial help too. Hawkins, whose fastidious coaching propelled his sons to the Rio 2016 Olympics, now has blueprints he can share.

“There were a lot of things learned during their transitions to the marathon and so many ways that we could have done it,” he says. “Most of them have involved keeping them healthy so they can train. You go back to 2012 when Derek made his debut and ran the Olympic standard, first time. If he’d run that time earlier in the year, he could have been selected for London but he had come through a lot. And that was useful when Callum then came through.”

Residual knowledge is invaluable, says Twell, who is flying the flag for Scotland today with the Hawkins brothers missing having committed to running the Valencia marathon in December before London was re-arranged.

Knowledgeable from her own peaks and troughs, the Scottish record holder has been confidently self-coached during her own build-up to London. At 31, it has been liberating.

“I set my own rest days, which is a perk,” she smiles.

Yet there is little point in reinventing the wheel, the European medallist signals.

“You do homework from people who have developed. There are so many ways to skin a cat. There isn’t one way.”

Robert Hawkins Senior, pictured below, is among her circle of sounding boards. Callum, fourth at the past two world championships, is an inspiration, she adds.

“Because Callum is someone who works from home and just knuckles down and gets on with it. That’s a small team. But it’s a really effective programme.”

Its circle of trust will steadily enlarge. Eilish McColgan, taking a tentative initial step into the marathon this morning by accepting a late invite to pace Twell and others for part of the route in London, plans to go the full distance in 2022. Robert Hawkins has been already been able to influence Steph Davis, whose time of 2:27:40 in Valencia last December capped an extraordinary debut.

“We brought her into the project and then she hit the Olympic standard and there’s a chance she gets to Tokyo next year,” he says.

“It was almost an overnight success because she came on so quickly.”

Such heady results, he trusts, will not be isolated examples in the long run.