Skip to main content

Photo of Callum Elson, Durham alumnus

Athlete Callum Elson (History, Collingwood College, 2017-20) has been selected for Team GB & NI for the World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow at the start of March.

Purple dividing banner

UPDATE March 2024

Callum competed in the last of the four heats in the men’s 1500m on the evening of Thursday 29 February. Representing Team GB & NI, he faced six other athletes from countries including Canada, Belgium, New Zealand and Kenya. Receiving a large cheer from the crowd on the start line, he looked to be running steadily through the first two laps.

Previous heats of the men’s 1500m had seen other Team GB & NI athlete Adam Fogg fall in the early stages of his race and the fourth men’s 1500m heat wasn’t without drama either. Unfortunately Callum’s race was curtailed not long into the third lap as he pulled up due to a leg injury.

“My few minutes on the big stage didn’t go to plan, but I’m proud of the hard work it took to get on that start line and I’ve no doubt I can find a path back there again soon.

“My body didn’t let me down, I didn’t do anything wrong in training or not look after myself in the right way. It was a freak accident with unfortunate and serious consequences – just one of those things.

“Summer 2024 is not to be the one I had dreamed of…but there’s plenty more left to come from me in one way or another.”

We applaud Callum’s mindset and are confident that after rest and recovery his comeback will be stellar. Winner or not, it takes determination and talent to make it to the World Athletics Indoor Championships and we’re proud of his achievements and journey.

A purple dividing line

Callum has taken the world of athletics by storm, with a collection of impressive international and national wins, times and qualifications to his name since 2022. In February 2024, he was on the starting line of the men’s 1500m finals at the British Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham. This event served as a qualifier for March’s 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships and Callum had his sights firmly set on producing a qualifying time.

After a close race against strong competitors, he received the news that he had been selected to compete for Great Britain & Northern Ireland in Glasgow: “Not often, if ever, will you get to represent Great Britain in front of a home crowd. I’m excited to make that happen!”

Taking place from Friday 1 March at 9.30am and presented by another Durham alumna, Gabby Logan (Law, College of St Hild & St Bede, 1992-95; Honorary Doctor of Civil Law, 2015), the World Athletics Indoor Championships will be broadcast live on the BBC.

Gabby said of the Championships: “The World Indoor Athletics Championships are a great chance for fans to get to know the incredible athletes who will be putting everything on the line in the hopes of achieving glory in Glasgow. We’ll be following these breathtaking competitors and their inspiring stories on the BBC all the way through to summer with the highly anticipated Paris Olympics on the horizon.”

Football and athletics

Callum was widely engaged with sport whilst at Durham, and played at University and College level. He was a member of Durham University Football Club’s Men’s 1st XI and Collingwood College Football Club, acting as its Social Secretary from 2018-19, then Charity & Outreach Secretary from 2019-20.

He was also a member of Durham University Athletics and Cross Country Club, although he concentrated primarily on football during his studies.

During the lockdowns of the Covid-19 pandemic, Callum turned his attention to running more seriously. He earned a full athletics scholarship to American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts, returning to the UK in 2022 with two National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) titles to his name, and all-American status, to accompany his MBA. He broke the 4-minute barrier in his third mile race that same year. Mere months later, he had also surpassed the 14-minute barrier for 5km.

Not content with his prowess on the track, he established ‘The Distance Project’ on Instagram and YouTube. Through this he has documented his training and events in his athletic career to ‘bridge the gap’ with some of the world’s best athletes and make athletics accessible to all. Inspired by his own journey from amateur to elite, he brings athletics to life. His informal, approachable style has earned him over 20,000 followers on Instagram, and 7.16k subscribers on YouTube.

Callum’s athletic achievements in the last two years include:

  • December 2022 – represented Team GB & NI for the first time at the European Cross Country Championships in Turin, Italy
  • February 2023 – selected for Team GB & NI at the 2023 World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia
  • October 2023 – won silver and set a new area record time of 3 minutes 56.41 seconds in the road mile at the inaugural 2023 World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia
  • December 2023 – selected for the 2023 European Cross Country Championships in Brussels. He captained Team GB & NI for this event
  • February 2024 – placed second at the 2024 British Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham, following which he was selected for Team GB & NI in the 2024 World Athletics Indoor Championships in Glasgow

He has repeated his initial 2022 sub-4 minutes for a mile six times – it’s worth noting that in June 2022, more people had successfully climbed Mount Everest than broken the 4-minute barrier.

Watch the video for his qualifying race at the 2024 British Indoor Athletics Championships in Birmingham:

This is the image alt text


Find out more