Scotland’s Robbie Simpson was unable to run at full throttle in the Barcelona half marathon – but the Deeside athlete still managed to help another athlete achieve a record-breaking performance.
The Commonwealth Games marathon bronze medallist spent five weeks training in Spain with the aim of knocking himself into shape for April’s London marathon.
He intended tackling the Barcelona run to test his fitness before returning to the north-east this week.
Simpson believed he was in shape to threaten his personal best time of 1hr 4min 27secs set at Inverness last March.
However, a week before the race he became unwell after picking up a bug which left him coughing and spluttering on his training runs.
Simpson decided it wouldn’t be sensible to race flat out in Barcelona but decided he would still take part, running at a slower pace as part of a longer 23-mile training run.
He said: “I still wasn’t feeling great so decided to run round and did around 1hr 09min 30secs.
“I ran with the Welsh girl Charlotte Arter for most of the second half as she was on for a fast time and there weren’t many others around to help.”
Arter appeared to benefit from Simpson’s company as she stormed her way to fifth position in the women’s division of the race in a Welsh record time of 1:09:40. That knocked 19secs off the previous record set 31 years ago by Susan Tooby.
Simpson has amended his racing plans and now intends defending his title in this weekend’s Kinloss to Lossiemouth half marathon.
Then he’ll head once again to Inverness next month where he’ll hope for another quick time.
April’s London marathon offers the chance of qualifying for the world championships to be held in Doha in October, but to be considered for selection Simpson will need to improve his best time from 2:15:04 to under 2:13:00.
Simpson’s girlfiend Ginie Barrand didn’t have it easy in Barcelona either.
The Metro Aberdeen runner, who won last August’s Great Aberdeen 10km, suffered from stomach cramps over the final 5km but still completed the course in 1:20:47, just 42secs outside her best.