Callum Wilkinson continued his recent trend of breaking records on Sunday — and then insisted there is plenty more to come over the weeks and months that follow.
Wearing an England Athletics vest, the Moulton race walker was his country’s sole representative in the Men’s Indoor 5km at the ELAN International Meeting, hosted in Bratislava, Slovakia.
While a time of 19 minutes 20.68 seconds was not enough to pip Irish winner Alex Wright, second-placed Wilkinson still shaved 19 seconds off his personal best.
In addition, the 19-year-old set a new National Under-23 record and is now placed second on the all-time national list over that distance.
However, with the new year only a month old, Wilkinson is confident that with more training under his belt, performances will only improve.
“I am very happy with the time, but I did not get everything right tactically. It is a mixture of emotions,” said Wilkinson.
“We set off at a fast pace and it did not really slow down from there.
“There are plenty of tweaks to make and I am always learning.
“This was only my second race for a long while. At this time of year, it is largely about training for endurance athletes and I have plenty of miles in my legs.
“I am doing plenty of good work and as that continues, things will only get better and my times should go down.”
Next up for the Leeds Beckett University student is the British Athletics Indoor Team Trials in Sheffield (February 12), where a place in March’s European Indoor Championships squad will be up for grabs.
The race — again over a distance of 5km — will see Wilkinson pit himself against friend, training partner and British number one Tom Bosworth.
The 27-year-old is the undisputed favourite heading into the race, but Wilkinson is aiming to put some pressure on Team GB’s Rio Olympian.
“There is a healthy and competitive rivalry between Tom and I, as well as the whole squad. I would be worried if that did not exist,” added Wilkinson.
“Tom and I are very close, but when we put on the vest and get on the start-line, we want to beat each other.
“I feel in good enough shape to win the race, but I know if we both walk our best races, I probably will not have enough.
“Tom has walked sub-19 seconds before and I probably am not ready for that. But if I can PB again and he has a mediocre day, you never know.”