Despite a Commonwealth Games marathon bronze in Australia last year, Robbie Simpson isn’t interested in going to the IAAF World Athletics Championships in the autumn.
Simpson, 27, took third for Team Scotland in Gold Coast in sweltering conditions – in a race where team-mate Callum Hawkins infamously collapsed while leading.
The Banchory runner, who also enhanced his already impressive mountain running pedigree last year, views 2018 as the best year of his career.
He said: “The Commonwealth Games was a major highlight – just being there, let alone winning a medal.
“It was already my best season without anything else, but the summer went really well too.
“I did a lot of races in Switzerland and won those. I was second once and won the rest.
“I really enjoy the likes of the Zermatt Marathon and the Jungfrau Marathon.
“At the (Great Aberdeen Run) 10K in Aberdeen I felt really good and ran well.
“Between March and September I only got beaten once and was happy with how everything went.”
The profile Simpson gained from a multi-sport event like the Gold Coast Games was something he hadn’t experienced before.
He said: “You often get good coverage in the country you’re running in, but it often doesn’t get back here as it’s not as big a sport.
“The Commonwealths was a bit different.
“You’ve got that attention and some good things have come off the back of it. I got more opportunities to talk to people about running and go to schools and things.
“It’s been really nice.”
Looking back on the marathon Down Under, contested in 35 degree heat and where 24 athletes failed to finish, Simpson is proud of how he battled through it to medal.
He said: “It’s right up there in the top three toughest conditions.
“I’ve raced before in slightly hotter weather and in a much shorter race.
“Both those races I was lining up thinking, if I make it to the end in one piece I’ll be very happy. In that heat, a lot of things can go wrong.
“I’m glad I managed to handle it well.
“In the weeks before I was worried.”
Simpson admits he prefers mountain races to marathons on the road and his 2019 goals reflect this.
He also thinks he’s less susceptible to injury when training for the hills.
He only returned to competition in early December following a back injury sustained during preparations on the road.
His last big win was his second Jungfrau Alpine Marathon victory in September.
The runner said he plans to go for the hat-trick this year.
Simpson said: “I’ll probably go back and do the likes of Jungfrau.
“If I do do another marathon, it’ll probably be in the spring – if I make a good recovery over winter.
“If I can’t do that, (there is) the likes of RunBalmoral and then I’ll try and target a marathon later in the year.
“I still want to do a really fast marathon, but at the world champs in Doha, the race is going to be starting at midnight, it’s going to be really hot.
“It doesn’t really appeal spending the summer training for one race like that. I’d much rather be out in the mountains.”
He added: “I’d like to run in the European Mountain Running Championships if things go well.”
There is, however, one multi-sport event in 2020 which any athlete with a chance of going will find impossible to resist – the Tokyo Olympics.
Does Simpson harbour hopes of a Team GB marathon place?
He said: “I’d have to take a few minutes off. If I could run about 2:12 I’d have an outside chance.
“You’ve got Mo (Farah) and Callum who are really, really good and Dewey Griffiths has run under 2:10. It depends on the day, but I want to improve my time anyway.
“If I can do that and get the training right then I’ll put myself in the best position to qualify.
“If I don’t then I’ve gone for it and run a faster time than I’ve already done.
“It’s nice having the mountain running too, because it’s not the only thing I’ve got and there are other races I enjoy.
“It’s also nice to have already got the medal in the Commonwealths.
“That’s done, it’s in the bank and anything additional I can do in the marathon is great.”