IT’S safe to say that Robbie Simpson hasn’t let his Commonwealth Games success go to his head.

Just a few months ago, the 26-year-old won a hugely impressive bronze medal in the marathon in Gold Coast but a mere matter of weeks later, he was living with only the very barest of necessities to sustain him.

Simpson came through the ranks as a hill runner, only transitioning to the marathon in the past couple of years. But despite his success on the road, which came far quicker than he expected, the Aberdeenshire athlete still returns to his roots whenever possible.

Which is why, just a few weeks after returning from Australia with his first Commonwealth Games medal safely bagged, Simpson upped sticks and headed for the hills of Switzerland, where he regularly bases himself.

His home in Crans-Montana is basic, to say the least, with his apartment boasting only a bed, a small cooker and a bathroom. In a world in which gadgets are barely more than a few feet away from anyone’s fingertips, such sparseness would be enough to send many crazy but not Simpson, with the runner believing that such an environment is perfect for him to get back into peak condition after the excitement and stress of the Commonwealth Games.

Simpson has barely allowed himself the luxury of basking in his Commonwealth Games glory though and is already back competing, with his first marathon outing post-Gold Coast coming today, at the Zermatt Marathon in Switzerland.

“I’d had the Zermatt Marathon in my head from the start of the year as something I’d want to do after Gold Coast but I wasn’t sure how I’d feel after the Games,” he said.

“But things have been going really well since I got home from Australia so I thought I’d go for it. I’ve had a few hill races in the past few weeks so I’ve been feeling reasonably good. With these marathons in the hills, it’s not really about a time. But I’ll be going for the win.”

Simpson’s performance in Gold Coast was surely one of the most impressive of the entire eleven days of competition. No one, including himself, expected him to pick up any silverware but the conditions, which were brutally hot and caused Simpson’s compatriot, Callum Hawkins, to collapse while leading the race, made sure there were a few surprises, including Simpson’s third place finish.

“I definitely didn’t expect to come home with a medal,” he said.

“It’s nice to reflect on it and look back but I’m still not quite sure how it happened. I’d raced in hot weather before and had never had many good results and there was one race in the past that I did collapse just as I crossed the line because of the heat.

“So going into the race in Australia, I’d told myself that I wasn’t going home with the excuse that it was too hot so I just tried to embrace the heat. I thought that approach might get me a top-10 position so to get a medal was just amazing.”

And the Scot admits that his success on the road in Australia has done wonders for his self-belief going forward.

“I’d always have liked to think that I did have the mental strength but in the marathons I’d done before, they’d went well but I’d never really felt that I’d pushed to that same limit and managed to come through like I did in Gold Coast,” he said.

It’s been such a big confidence boost – since then, I’ve felt a lot more comfortable running and racing because in some ways, I feel like things can’t get tougher than that race was.”

Simpson’s mix of hill running and road running is a somewhat unusual combination but it cannot be denied that it is working for him. The variety keeps things interesting and both serve to motivate him for the other. At the end of this hill running season he will, he admits, be desperate to get onto the road while similarly, too much road running leaves him yearning for the hills.

But with his sights set on more championship silverware, he has no plans to change a winning formula.

“It can be difficult to get the right balance - the hill running helps the endurance side of things and I’m getting the strength training in and building a good base of fitness but what is difficult is maintain the speed as well,” he said.

The mix helps me mentally too and I think it’s perfect for me to keep things interesting and keep me moving forward.

And I think the more experience I get switching between the two, the better I’ll get at it.”