Robbie Simpson hopes to secure a place on the Great Britain team for this year’s IAAF world championships in Doha by producing a top-level performance in tomorrow’s Virgin Money London marathon.
The Deeside athlete has a best time of 2hr 15min 4sec set in the UK capital two years ago.
He needs to run a little more than two minutes quicker to be considered for one of the three available places.
He has spent the past couple of weeks at Monte Gordo in the Portuguese Algarve, finalising his preparations for the big race.
He said: “Monte Gordo has lots of nice forest trails and flat cycle roads straight from my door.
“It has been ideal for ticking off the final sessions and easy runs before London. Before my previous two London marathons I spent time training here.
“So it’s good to be back somewhere familiar for the final preparations. It’s also nice to escape any of the pre-race build-up and excitement as it’s so far away and really quiet.
“Each day I can focus on getting the runs completed and recovering well between.
“In the taper period it’s hard to know exactly how well things are going as you tend to over-analyse everything. But once I’m on the start line I’ll be as well prepared as I can be and ready to give my best.”
The sharp end of the race will be stacked with many of the greatest marathon runners of all-time including Kenya’s defending champion Eliud Kipchoge who produced a world record 2hr 1min 39secs performance at Berlin last September.
The Olympic gold medallist, who set a London course record of 2hr 3min 5secs last year, is bidding for his fourth victory in the race he also won in 2015 and 2016.
Mo Farah leads the domestic challenge after setting a British record of 2:05:11 when winning the Chicago marathon last October. He finished third behind Kipchoge and rising Ethiopian star Shura Kitata at London in 2018.
Scotland’s Callum Hawkins (Kilbarchan AAC) tackles his first marathon since his dramatic collapse when leading the Commonwealth Games race at Gold Coast last April when Simpson came through to take bronze.
Simpson added: “I can’t get involved with the fast guys at the front. My plan is to go out at 2:14 pace but it depends how I feel on the day.
“It’s quicker than I’ve done before but not too fast. I want to be sensible in the first half then hopefully be able to pick up the pace in the second half as that’s the way to get the best result.”
He said: “If I got the 2:13 Doha qualifying time and I was selected, I would probably do it as you never know how often these opportunities might come along.”
Other leading north-east runners taking part in the marathon include Metro Aberdeen duo Chris Richardson and Ben Ward, and JS Kintore’s Tom Roche.
All three are aiming for times around the 2:30 mark or quicker.