Robbie Simpson is looking for some fresh challenges over the next few months after finishing sixth in the Great Britain Olympic marathon trials at London’s Kew Gardens.
The Banchory athlete’s hopes of challenging for a place on the trip to Tokyo this summer came to an end when stomach problems slowed him down on the 13-lap parkland course.
Simpson finished well adrift of the Tokyo qualifying standard of 2hr 11min 30sec when completing the race in 2:15:26.
He was 32 seconds outside his personal best time set at London in 2019 and was a frustrating 14 seconds away from the mark required for a place on the Scotland team for the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
The 29-year-old Deeside Runners club member always knew it would be a tough ask to secure Olympic selection, but feels there were still a number of promising aspects to his performance.
He said: “I ran the final 10km better than I’ve done in any of my previous marathons, so that was a positive feature.
“It’s just frustrating that I had a bad spell not long after half way when I got a stitch and was in so much pain I had to slow down.
“Then I had to stop to be sick after about 30km. It was my own fault as I got my energy drinks wrong. I took two of them too close together.
“But what’s encouraging is that, although I felt I was running really slowly, the pace still wasn’t too bad.
“In the past, when I’ve run a 2.15 marathon it has felt so hard, but this time it seemed relatively easy.”
Simpson will enjoy a few days off before returning to training, but admits his future racing programme is still very much up in the air.
He normally spends much of the summer tackling some of the top mountain races on the European circuit, but that’s all shrouded in uncertainty at the moment.
He said: “It’s really difficult to plan as I don’t know which races are likely to be happening. Some have already been cancelled.
“Travelling could also be problematic in the summer.
“The Sierre-Zinal race in Switzerland is planned for August, but it’s not one I could just fly out to a couple of days beforehand.
“I’d need to be over there for maybe five or six weeks to train properly for it, and that doesn’t look likely.”
Simpson is exploring other options closer to home and is keen to try his hand in any ultra-distance races that might come along.
He has some experience of racing beyond the marathon distance, having won last year’s Bennachie 50km trail race and also finishing fifth in a 50-mile trail race in California in 2019.
He said: “There are a few possibilities in Scotland and it would be good to try something different.
“It all depends on which races are likely to get the go-ahead.”