Callum Hawkins is recovering in hospital after collapsing just two kilometres from victory in the Commonwealth Games marathon.
The 25-year-old Scot was two minutes clear of the field but fell victim to heat and exhaustion in dramatic fashion.
Hawkins’ legs buckled beneath him, sending him to the ground.
The Rio 2016 Olympian remained on the deck for over 10 minutes, with spectators and marathon course officials unsure whether to help him for fear of getting him disqualified.
Pleased to confirm @callhawk is making a good recovery & asked us to pass on the following: “Thanks for all your messages of support today and to the Gold Coast University Hospital staff. I am now feeling much better.”
— Team Scotland (@Team_Scotland) April 15, 2018
Australia’s Michael Shelley passed the stricken Hawkins to retain his Commonwealth Games title.
Medical officials eventually assisted Hawkins and loaded him into an ambulance.
But many have criticised how long it took for medical aid to reach the distressed runner.
Hawkins’ brother Derek, who also raced in the Rio 2016 marathon, was among those watching the drama unfold.
Thanks everyone for their messages of support. As reported Callum’s in hospital, is conscious/talking and getting appropriate medical attention. Can’t describe how upsetting and distressing it was to watch but just glad he’s alright.
— Derek Hawkins (@DelH1989) April 15, 2018
Olympians and commentators also voiced their relief, and anger, on social media.
Watching the end of the marathon this morning and so upset to see Callum Hawkins collapse but glad to read that he is recovering well. Horrible to see people just standing watching him in such distress and not helping, some actually taking picture is a disgrace #GC2018
— Lee McConnell (@LeeMcConnell400) April 15, 2018
Congratulations to all the runners who finished and brave running from Robbie Simpson and Kevin Seaward but big questions for LOC and medical support. That should never happen.
— Paula Radcliffe (@paulajradcliffe) April 15, 2018
Soul destroying but the marathon is a beast and can destroy you. Heartbreaking to watch hope Callum is ok
— liz mccolgan (@Lizmccolgan) April 15, 2018
Gold Coast 2018 CEO Mark Peters said every assistance is being offered to Hawkins and his team.
“I, like many others, was distressed to see a wonderful athlete like Callum collapse during the closing stages.
“GOLDOC can confirm that during the race, medical staff were posted at 500-metre intervals in the final kilometres of the course all of which had radio communications.
”GOLDOC has put in place a wide range of measures to ensure athlete welfare and the response of medical staff this morning was within agreed response guidelines and time frames.
Peters said medics were only able to treat Hawkins once he eventually requested it.
He also hit out at the conduct of some spectators.
“I was also concerned about the behaviour of a small number of bystanders who chose to take images.
“This is not in keeping with the spirit of GC2018.”