HAWTHORN captaincy candidate Isaac Smith has retained his title as the club's best endurance runner, winning the Hawks' pre-season time trial for the fourth successive year.

In welcome news for Hawthorn fans as the club embarks on a period of transition, Smith was followed across the finish line by a quartet of youngsters.

The Hawks vice-captain showcased his superb balance of speed and stamina to pip athletic Irishman Conor Nash, 20, over a distance of 2.2km at Waverley on Monday.

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The bolter, though, was first-year rookie midfielder/defender Will Golds, the 19-year-old finishing just a few seconds behind Nash in third place.

Rounding out the top five were two other teenage midfielders in Dylan Moore and Harry Jones.

The results impressed Hawthorn's physical performance manager Luke Boyd, who was particularly enthused by the efforts of the club's younger brigade.

"We were really, really happy with how the group ran," Boyd said.

"Everyone has come back in good shape, which gives us a good base as we progress through the pre-season …

"No one has been able to knock off Isaac yet.

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"A couple of other standouts included Dylan Moore and Harry Jones. It was the first time Harry has tested with us and he ran a very, very decent time.

"Daniel Howe, James Cousins and Conor Glass were also standouts, as well as another first-year (player) Damon Greaves – he was outstanding."

The Hawks will run another time trial in January.