Callum Wilkinson is hoping to continue his trend of breaking records when he steps out for Sunday’s ‘once in a career opportunity’ at the World Athletics Championships (2.20pm).
The former Bury St Edmunds schoolboy’s appearance on The Mall will complete a rapid rise for the Moulton-based race walker, who shot to fame last year by winning gold at the World Under-20 Athletics Championships.
Since then, ex-King Edward VI pupil Wilkinson has made history on virtually every one of his competitive outings, breaking the British Under-23 records over 20K and 3K.
The 20-year-old is also the second fastest Brit of all time over 5K, while also being the first of his countrymen to complete a mile in under six minutes.
And while the weekend’s showpiece event will be just the fourth time Wilkinson has ever competed over 20K, he is looking to continue on the upward curve.
“It is tough to set targets because I keep breaking them — the danger is you could become unrealistic,” said the athlete who used to train at the town’s leisure centre.
“It is hard to know where I am at, but this is the biggest race of the year and so I want to produce my best.
“I want to set a new personal best and to finish in the top 20 — that would be an amazing achievement.
“To do that I will have to be at 100 per cent. And, with how I feel, the way I have been training and my recent races, everything is hopefully pointing to me reaching those aims.”
Like his British track and field team-mates over the past few days, Wilkinson is bound to receive a positive reception from the home crowd as he makes his way on to the start line.
Despite his tender years, it could be the only opportunity Wilkinson gets to perform in such a prestigious competition on home soil, so he is encouraging as many people as possible to come out to lend their support.
“Hopefully it will not be, but this could be a once in a career opportunity for me to race in front of home fans,” he added.
“We had the Olympics in 2012 and now the Worlds, so that could be it for a long while.
“British fans are great. You only have to look at the stadium this week — both the sessions are almost full and you would not get that anywhere else in the world.
“The great thing about the race walking is that it is free and you are so close to the athletes.
“It is going to be such a great experience so hopefully plenty of people will come down to The Mall — their support will be massive.”