The postponement of next month’s London marathon has caused Deeside athlete Robbie Simpson and the Great Britain Olympic Games selectors a major headache as the race was to have been the main trial for Tokyo 2020.
The first two UK finishers in the men’s and women’s races were to be guaranteed a place on the plane for Japan, subject to achieving the required qualifying times.
Simpson, the 2018 Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist, is one of those hoping to bid for selection and has now been told a contingency plan is being put in place.
The sport’s governing body UK Athletics has indicated that a special trial will be held sometime between April 25 and 27 at a closed location with a limited number of runners.
Simpson said: “It’s far from ideal. I’m not sure what I’m training for to be honest. I have been preparing all winter for the London marathon which is a great event and I was looking forward to it.
“Now I’ve been told there will still be a trial but I haven’t yet heard anything about where it will be and who all will get the chance to run in it.
“It just won’t be the same anyway if it’s maybe 10 guys running round a track somewhere. The London marathon is a huge event with a great atmosphere, but the proposed trial won’t be anything like that.
“Another problem is that a lot of the top British runners are in Spain at the moment. They might have difficulty training as a lot of places are in lockdown and it may not be easy for them to get back home.
“Also, there’s appearance and prize money at London, but who knows if we’ll get anything for running in the trial. I’d be daft not to do it though.”
Simpson has recently returned from Fuerteventura where he was training with his girlfriend Ginie Barrand and a couple of other Metro Aberdeen colleagues.
He said: “We just got out before the lockdown there but it was a bit of a nightmare journey back.
“Our flight was meant to leave at 6pm, but we didn’t board until 7.30pm and it finally left at 10pm.
“Then we were taken to Prestwick and taken by bus to Edinburgh before driving home. We got to Banchory about 7am.”
Simpson usually spends part of the summer competing in many of Europe’s top mountain races, but acknowledges that’s unlikely.
He said: “There’s just so much uncertainty, which is understandable given the circumstances so I’m not sure what I’ll be able to do.
“It might be a case of setting my own targets by doing things I can do on my own such as a timed run round the Cairngorm 4,000ft munros.”