Callum Wilkinson reflects on his record-breaking exploits at the British Athletics Championships in Birmingham
As a budding race walker five years ago, one of the staples of Callum Wilkinson’s training sessions was to run six-minute miles around Scaltback Middle School’s playing fields on Elizabeth Avenue.
Fast forward to Sunday’s British Athletics Championships in Birmingham and the Moulton-raised athlete was working to that time-frame again, only on this occasion he was walking – such has been the level of his progression since those days.
Not only was it a performance that secured the 22-year-old the gold medal, his time of 18 minutes and 41.23 seconds set a new British outdoor record over 5,000m.
Wilkinson said: “It was not that long ago that I was running around Scaltback doing six-minute miles and they were a real effort.
“I remember doing them vividly with the rest of the group. It was tough, but those sessions had real aims and they helped to set me up for the future.
“It shows my progression, but it also shows what patience and remaining consistent can help you to achieve.
“You have got to keep going because there is no boundary to what you can achieve. There is no magic recipe to any of it, just resilience and hard work.
“Breaking the record was just one of those lovely days where it all came together.
“I had been so consistent in training and it was just a case of waiting and having to almost bite my tongue until I could unleash all of the hard work.
“Hopefully it was a performance that shows just how much I want this. I was delighted with the performance and I am very proud to be the record holder.”
Wilkinson – a former Moulton Primary School pupil – will now ramp up his preparations for the World Athletics Championship in Doha, which get under way at the end of September.
He will spend night sleeping in an altitude tent before heading out to South Africa for a training camp.
“It was really hot on Sunday but the heat is going to be even more intense in Doha,” he added.
“Sleeping in the altitude tent and going to South Africa, these are all part of the preparations and it is almost a case of making sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.
“These things are all about making sure I am completely ready and in the best shape I can be when I get on that start line.
“I needed to produce something special in Birmingham to break the record and knowing that I am capable of it is a big confidence boost for Doha.
"The World Championships are obviously over a much longer distance (20K) but if I can be in contention in the final 5K or so then who knows. I am feeling in great shape.”
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More by this authorLiam Apicella