After months of waiting, Deeside marathon man Robbie Simpson can finally map out a strategy aimed at taking him all the way to the 2021 Olympic Games.
The Banchory athlete is determined to launch a strong bid to join fellow Scot Callum Hawkins, who has been pre-selected for Tokyo on the basis of his form over the past couple of years.
Two further places are available on the Team GB men’s squad, subject to athletes achieving the qualifying standard of 2:11:30.
Now Simpson and the other contenders are clearer as to when they have to produce the goods if they are to be heading for Japan next summer.
The marathon trial was to have been included in the London Marathon at the end of April, but, as with the Olympic Games, the race was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. When the London race was eventually held, in October, it became an elite-only event, but was no longer an Olympic trial.
Now the sport’s governing body has announced the trial is to be held as a specially-convened event at London on Friday March 26.
Simpson said: “It’s great to have a date nailed down because the hardest thing has been not knowing when it was going to be and not having a goal in sight.
“Whether the Olympic Games actually happen next year is another matter, but I’m pleased that I can now start planning by working back from the trial date. I have something to focus on.”
Simpson, who was bronze medallist at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, admits he is waiting to hear more details about the format for the trial.
He said: “All I know at the moment is that it’s to be on a 5k lap course, starting early on a Friday morning in London.
“I guess it will be similar to the elite race they held there in October.
“I don’t know how many people will be invited to take part. It could be 20, 30, 40 or more. I don’t know how wide they will go.
“I’m not sure if there will be pacemakers to help out, although I presume there will be. It would be more interesting if it was just a straight race.
“I presume selection will go to the first two finishers, so long as they get the qualifying time. That’s what it was to have been had the trial taken place this year.
“A few of the guys already have the qualifying standard, but I think they will still have to do the trial. I guess if the trial was to be a slow race, then they’ll have the benefit of already having times in the bag.”