IT isn’t enough any more for Andy Butchart to be an Olympic and World Championship 5000m finalist and Dunblane’s third most famous sporting son. Now he is also one half of the new power couple of Scottish athletics.

Only a week after he and Lynsey Sharp returned from a campervan holiday in the south of France, the 25-year-old is revelling in the chance to compete in front of a Scottish crowd again, day tripping in the half marathon event at today’s Great Scottish Run which starts in George Square and ends in Glasgow Green.

Some might find being part of a celebrity relationship intrusive but Butchart said that he and his girlfriend revel in the support they can provide each other on their journey through the sport. Asked what it is like to be part of the sport’s new golden couple, Butchart said with a smile: “It’s good, I don’t mind, me and Lynsey have a lot of fun, she gives me good support. If one person has a bad day, you can help each other out.

“I am usually pacing her, because she is faster than me. But it is nice to have someone like that on the track, you can help each other out. It [the holiday] was good, we had a lot of fun, and a lot of pastries. The weight is there, for sure, but the fitness is still there too.”

Butchart is also famous for being part of another famous Scottish athletics duopoly with his rivalry with Callum Hawkins, whom he faces for the first time over the half marathon distance today. Having just returned from France last week, the most the 25-year-old has under his belt is a 10-mile run. But that doesn’t mean he won’t take it to Hawkins, last year’s winner of this event, if he feels good in the closing stages today.

“I think it is harsh to set myself a goal for this weekend. I just want to enjoy it and see what it is like,” he said. “I am not sure if I am going to run in Scotland again this year, so that is a major part of why I am running. The public give me such a big support so that is such a big part of why I am getting involved.”

Like many in Scottish athletics, Butchart is coming off a stellar year, but he believes 2018 could be even better. He ended up with Mo Farah’s vest from the World Championships in London, where he finished eighth, but feels the Commonwealth Games and the European Championships – held in Berlin this summer, while the rest of the sports unfold in Glasgow – present him with a viable chance to get on the podium at a major champ-ionships for the first time. There is also the challenge of the European Cross Country where Butchart, captain last year in Italy, would put his hand up for the armband again.

“I think there are a lot of people in my position in Scottish athletics and somebody has to take that on board,” he said. “Next year is where the opportunity is. The European and Commonwealth Games are not the major majors, not Worlds, not Olympics, so the opportunity of getting medals is a little bit easier. I am more than capable of doing that sort of thing.”

The World Indoor Championships, held in Birmingham in the first few days of March, could also be a nice stepping stone.

“It just depends what the coach wants, it makes sense to do World Indoors ahead of the Commonwealth Games, you have to get on the track, so indoors is where it is, unless you go to Australia and the racing isn’t that good.

“We all know who is going to be there: the Kenyans are going to be there, the Canadians, a lot of people. If I can finish sixth and eighth in the Olympics and the Worlds, then it stands to reason that there is more chance in the Commonwealth Games. As for this weekend, I have never run a half marathon before, so I am not going to say I am going to beat him [Hawkins] in a sprint finish. It is an unknown for me. I could end up running very fast, I just don’t know. If I beat him, I beat him. If I don’t, I don’t.”

While Sammi Kinghorn continues her tune-up for the 1500m and mar-athon events in the Gold Coast with a quick burl around Glasgow, in the women’s event many eyes will be trained on Jo Pavey. Now 44, Pavey, a bronze medallist in the 5000m at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, is entered into the half marathon.

While she will skip the Gold Coast, she has no intention of slowing up any time soon, planning to target the European Championships instead.

“The weather isn’t looking good on Sunday but the atmosphere makes up for it,” said Pavey, who has been dogged by heel problems this year. “I used to do park meets here and I have really fond memories of the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

“The start is lovely and it is always a great atmosphere, with the bagpipes playing. I am not going to focus on the Commonwealth Games but I would love to be at the Europeans in the summer in Berlin. Having two young children the Commonwealths doesn’t really fit that well with me and I am very fortunate to have done that over the years.

“Scottish distance runners are doing amazing right now. Obviously now you have got Eilish McColgan, Laura Muir, Steph Twell, Callum Hawkins and Andrew Butchart. The Scottish Commonwealth team for distance running is going to be very strong.”