How does a top runner spend the Christmas break? Is it a well earned rest with their feet up or is it training as normal?

Robbie Simpson has once again proved the versatility of mountain runners in 2018 with a bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games marathon and wins at prestigious mountain races across Europe.

When the whole of the British Isles was focused on Callum Hawkins front running and suffering in the heat down under, Simpson ran an excellent race to come through the field and take third place with a 2:19:36 marathon in tough conditions.

The build-up for the Commonwealth Games had also included a personal best of 64:27 and a win over the half marathon distance in March at the Inverness Half Marathon.

After the marathons season was finished for Simpson there were standout performances at a highly competitive Sierre-Zinal, where the Scottish mountain runner was once again second to multiple winner Kilian Jornet, before another win at the Jungfrau marathon. There was even time for a 30:01 win at the Simply Health Aberdeen 10k in-between to further demonstrate his versatility.

Now back in Scotland for Christmas, will the Deeside Runner enjoy a well earned break? Fast Running caught up with Robbie to find out.

Fast Running: Will you train on Christmas Day?

Robbie Simpson: Yeah, I plan to do an easy run of 60-80 minutes in the morning then relax the rest of the day. It’s nice to get out as everywhere is quiet and if you do see people they’re all in a good mood.

FR: What about Boxing Day?

RS: Usually I do a local 5k fun run on Boxing day which is always a good blast.

FR: Have you ever run a race over the Christmas period?

RS: Over the years I’ve done quite a few races between Christmas and New Year. Although it’s not officially a race my favourite is the Banchory Boxing Day fun run as it’s in my local town and has been going since 1981.

The course has a big hill in the first mile so I enjoy fighting up that and then enjoying the downhill most of the way to the end. The first time I ran I was 13 years old and I’ve done nearly every one since. Normally some very good local runners turn up so it can be tough.

FR: What is the best running related present you have received at Christmas?

RS: So far it would be a head torch for dark winter off road runs.

FR: What is your favourite childhood memory of Christmas?

RS: Waking up at 6am to open lots of presents. Now I prefer to sleep in a bit and there aren’t many presents to open!

FR: Do you have a funny Christmas memory that stands out?

RS: We’ve had a Christmas tradition of someone in my family getting sick from overeating most years. A few years ago it was my turn and after being ill all night and lying in bed until 30 minutes before the start I decided very last minute I’d have a go at the Boxing Day 5k.

I hadn’t eaten since Christmas lunch but somehow managed to finish 1st then go straight home and lie in bed the rest of the day.

FR: Who are you spending Christmas 2018 with?

RS: This year I’ll be with my parents, one of my brothers and my girlfriend.

FR: What is your favourite food at Christmas?

RS: I like the combination of everything together but really crispy roast potatoes are a favourite of mine.

FR: Will you be doing the cooking?

RS: I’m assuming my mum is cooking it but I’ll have to check!

RELATED: A runner’s Christmas: Marc Scott

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