Robbie Simpson spent a day fishing on the banks of the River Don as a way of relaxing after competing in the Great Britain Olympic marathon trials at London’s Kew Gardens.
It sounds like an idyllic and leisurely way of passing the time after tackling a gruelling top-level long distance race, but the Banchory athlete still found a way of maintaining his daily fix of endurance exercise.
He said: “I’m a member of an angling club and I met a friend for a bit of fishing over in Strathdon.
“My fishing rod fids down and fits into a back pack so I was able to cycle there and back, which is 50k each way. It’s quite hilly as well so it felt harder than doing the marathon.”
Although it all went well, Simpson wasn’t given any reward for his efforts.
He said: ”It was a full day of fishing, but no sign of a fish.”
The Deeside runner has enjoyed a few days away from serious training after finishing sixth in the Tokyo trial.
His time of 2hr 15min 26secs wasn’t enough to earn one of the two available places on the team for Japan and it was also just outside the qualifying mark for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Now he’s looking to the future, but acknowledes there’s still a lot of uncertainty as to which races might be happening over the coming months.
He said: “I might look to do another marathon in the autumn, but I’m not sure at this stage. London is in October, but I’ve done that a few times and might fancy a change. I haven’t decided on anything yet.”
Simpson’s first love, however, is running on the trails and hills. He was bronze medallist at the world mountain running championships in 2015 and has been a regular member of the Great Britain team at world and European level over the past decade.
He normally spends much of the summer tackling some of the top mountain races on the European circuit, but isn’t sure what will be possible this year.
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 problematical 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 which might come along.
He has some experience of racing beyond the marathon distance, having won last year’s Bennachie 50k 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.
“It would be good experience to do some of these and go into them with no expectations.”
Alix still on form as outdoor season begins
US-based Aberdeenshire athlete Alix Still made a promising start to her outdoor season with a couple of solid performances at the Raleigh Relays in North Carolina.
The Kemnay multi-events specialist recorded 14.10secs in her first outing over 100m hurdles, then cleared 1.65m in the high jump.
Still is coming of a hugely successful indoor campaign, during which she scored a pentathlon best 3974 points, which left her just 122 points adrift of the Scottish record of 4096 set by Aileen Wilson 19 years ago.
This summer the University of Virginia student will step up to the heptathlon, in which she’ll take on an extra two disciplines.
She said: “The heptathlon is my main goal this season as I haven’t done one in almost three years. I am excited to see how many points I can get and I am also excited to add in two more events, the 200m and javelin.
“My main goals are to get stronger, and to increase my fitness so that I can compete over two days. I am going to work on my technique in each event.
“I have around five competitions before the outdoor Atlantic Conference championships at Raleigh, North Carolina in early May.”