Banchory’s Robbie Simpson battled through the pain barrier to finish sixth in the Great Britain Olympic Games marathon trial at Kew Gardens this morning.
The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist was 33secs outside his personal best time when recording 2hr 15min 27secs, while Chris Thompson (Aldershot, Farnham and District) secured his place on the trip to Japan this summer with a stunning victory in a lifetime best of 2:10:52.
A small elite field of 15 men and 12 women tackled the 13-lap course around the Royal Botanic Gardens on a cool and breezy morning, chasing their respective qualifying standards of 2:11:30 and 2:29:30.
Simpson said: “Overall, I’m happy with how it finished. Just after halfway I developed a stitch and for a couple of laps I was in so much pain. Then, just before 30k, I had to stop as I was physically sick.
“I thought about stopping altogether as I felt so bad, but I got going again, jogged on for a spell, then started feeling much better.
“For the next couple of laps I was really motoring. I was running as quickly as I’d been at any stage in the race and caught three guys. I managed to hang on from there.
“I can’t believe I got that time despite feeling as though I’d been jogging for so long.”
Robbie Simpson 📸 @AthleticsImages
Mishap along the way but still usual full-on committed run from Robbie 👍@clynerunning @PandJSport @GinieBarrand @Tartanshorts @TB_85 @MylesEdwards @SALChiefExec @Team_Scotland https://t.co/BfdtpcwdeG pic.twitter.com/rRcIY1Gd8y
— scottishathletics (@scotathletics) March 26, 2021
Thompson’s win was in the fairytale category. The Englishman, who turns 40 next month and became a father earlier in the week, seemed to be out of the reckoning with 10k to go.
But he surged back into contention as the leaders, Ben Connor (Derby) and Mo Aadan (Thames Valley), slowed.
Thomson burst past them with 5k remaining and went on to secure an emotional victory with a personal best time.
It was an amazing performance from an athlete who has been representing Great Britain for more than 20 years
and was European championships 10,000m silver medallist in 2010.
He said: “This week has knocked me for six, I’ve been trying to hold it together, but I’ve never felt so much emotion in my life. I’m 39 for crying out loud – this doesn’t happen.”
Bloody hell Chris Thompson is still an absolute machine at 39! pic.twitter.com/Ev8kixqTSz
— Will (@willzknight) March 26, 2021
Connor secured the other available Olympic place when finishing second in 2:12:05.
He had already achieved the qualifying standard from last October’s elite-only London marathon.
Aadan, making his marathon debut, was third in 2:12:20.
Scotland’s Steph Davis (Clapham Chasers) secured selection for Japan by winning the women’s race in a personal best 2:27:16 but her compatriot Sarah Inglis (Lothian) struggled to the finish in 2:34:09.
Runner-up Natasha Cockram (2:30:03), from Wales, and third-placed Rosie Edwards, Rotherham, (2:31:56) both got personal bests but were outside