ROBBIE Simpson recalls a time when he became so disorientated running an endurance race in hot conditions that he began hallucinating and thinking that somebody was behind him. At points during yesterday’s gruelling Commonwealth marathon in the Gold Coast, perhaps he feared he was hallucinating again to find that the entire field – apart from two people – were back there.

Amid all the entirely understandable concern and distress around the collapse of Callum Hawkins from heat exhaustion just a mile from the finish, it shouldn’t be forgotten that this 26-year-old from Banchory yesterday became Scotland’s first Commonwealth marathon medallist since John Alder in 1970. As he set out from the athletes’ village yesterday, it was an achievement that few people – perhaps including himself, although not former Scotland marathon start Fraser Clyne – thought this world medallist in mountain running had in him. “One time I was leading by a minute with 1k to go,” said Simpson, referring the the Sierre-Zinal mountain race in the Swiss alps. “I was zig-zagging in the last 500 metres and lost it. To be honest, I was hallucinating. I could see someone else behind me, I thought they were going to catch me.

“When I got to the end, my head just hit the tarmac and everything went black,” he added. “The next thing I remember is my heart beating really, really fast, hyperventilating, just feeling lactic acid everywhere.

“People were pouring water and ice all over me. It took me an hour to be able to sit up a bit. It’s a horrible, horrible feeling. It’s just over-heating. You are not sure if you should drink more, if you should get ice.”

The incident, and others like it, convinced Simpson that running faster than all your opponents isn’t always the answer. On days like yesterday in the Gold Coast, it is more a case of out-surviving them. His modest time of 2.19.36 was good enough for third behind Munyo Mutai in 2.19.02 and Shelley’s 2.16.46. “To be honest that race gave me a little bit of fear,” he said. “But I went back again this year and it made me run better tactically. I knew in those conditions you can’t race recklessly like I did that day. Things like that prepare me for this. Because it’s not about speed, it’s about surviving.”

Going in slightly less challenging temperatures, Sammi Kinghorn had finished fourth in what was only her second-ever para marathon. "It has been amazing, a very positive experience," said Sammi. "But I'm ready for a holiday now."