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Callum Wilkinson eyeing up more success at the British Athletics Championship following record-breaking performance in Ireland




Fresh from setting a new national record on Saturday, Moulton’s Callum Wilkinson now has his sights set on retaining the British Athletics Championship title.

The 23-year-old was in dominant 10,000m form in Dublin last weekend, stopping the clock in a new British record time of 39 minutes and 52.05 seconds to land the Irish prize.

It was a performance that shaved 14 seconds off Ian McCombie’s 31-year-old previous best – and the former Moulton Primary School pupil believes he could have gone even faster were it not for the adverse weather conditions.

Callum Wilkinson broke the national record at Birmingham in 2019. Picture: Mark Easton
Callum Wilkinson broke the national record at Birmingham in 2019. Picture: Mark Easton

“Training has been going well and I knew I was in good shape,” said Wilkinson.

“Nothing is ever nailed on but you go into every race with a number of time targets and I felt the British record was well within those.

“There was a lot of hard work in the wind and I would liked to have gone a bit quicker – if the weather had been better I may have done.

“But at the same time a British record is not something to be sniffed at. I’d like to think it is a good indication of the shape I am in.”

Wilkinson will now switch his focus to events at the Manchester Regional Arena on Saturday when he lines up for the 5,000m – an event he won last year, once again in record-breaking time.

“It’s a massive event and the organisers deserve a lot of credit for all of their hard work in making it safe for the athletes,” he added.

“I am the reigning champion and am going to be looking to win it again.

“And the very nature of being the record holder means that if I can set a new PB, it will also be a new British record again.

“I’m going into it full of confidence so hopefully it will be another good result.”

Wilkinson is now well adjusted to life across the Irish Sea in Cork, where he has been working under the tutelage of 2013 world 50km race walk champion Rob Heffernan since the turn of the year.

It was a move Wilkinson never doubted, but he is still pleased to see it paying dividends.

“I have never been looking to prove it was the right decision because I always knew it was the right thing to do,” he said.

“One of the big reasons for moving was to improve my technique and you can already see the progress in that regard.

“At the same time it is nice to put in some good results as part of a new set-up.

“It has been fantastic how well the result in Dublin has been received on both sides of the Irish Sea.

“It was a big switch, but Rob has been great and setting a new British record is a really positive start.”

Like everyone, Wilkinson’s 2020 has been hugely disrupted by the impact of Covid-19.

He’s had just two competitive outings in recent months, but the 2016 Under-20 World champion has remained positive.

“I love what I do, even if it’s just training and no races,” he said.

“I went into lockdown injured, so every day I’ve been able to get out and train has felt like a privilege. There have been plenty of days during the last 12 months when I haven’t been able to do that.

“A lot of races were cancelled but it was the right thing to do. Sport has to be secondary at times.”