One week short of his 28th birthday, Ryston Runner Robert Simmonds has been crowned World Champion in the Double Decathlon.
Described by a clubmate as “the Ironman of Track and Field” this gruelling two-day challenge involves covering the usual ten decathlon events plus another ten, including the 3000m flat and steeplechase, 5000m and 10000m.
It equates to covering a whole track and field match solo, plus a parkrun and GEAR, and over the course of it, Simmonds had posted some time and distances that any athlete would be pleased to record in an individual competition.
The International Association of Ultra Multi-Events World championships were held at Yeovil at the weekend.
By the end of the first morning, Simmonds was lying in third place having posted the following results: 100m (12.55), long jump (5m 68), 200m hurdles (28.90 - PB), shot putt (9m 54), 5000m (won it in 16.36 - PB).
The afternoon of day one started with the 800m, which Simmonds won in 2.05.
Indeed, he won every track event over this distance.
A 1m 75 high jump followed, then a 56.55 in the 400m.
By the end of the hammer competition, in which Simmonds was disappointed with his 29.59 result, he was in first place and never lost the advantage after that.
The day ended with the 3000m steeplechase, on a high note with another PB (10.22) and a 300-point lead over second place.
His lead by the end of the morning on day two had increased to 460 points, by way of 110m hurdles (19.81), discus (31m 04), 200m (25.88), pole vault ( 3m 40 - SB) and 3000m (9.48).
The afternoon started with the 400m hurdles (62.68) and a pleasing javelin throw of 50m 65. Simmonds then dispatched the 1500m in 4.32 and triple jumped 11m 63.
By this point his lead was pretty much unassailable, but he had set himself a points goal of 11500 so needed at least 36.20 to achieve it.
He ran a measured first 5000m in 18.10 then put the pedal down with a beautiful bit of pace changing to run a second half negative split of 17.30 to bring him home in 35.40, just a minute shy of his PB.
After after two days of hard graft, and with a final total of 11550, the second highest-ever recorded by a GB athlete in this competition (and 1238 points ahead of the silver medallist) Simmonds was crowned World Champion.
Despite knowing he must have won Simmonds, in his typical unassuming way, would not share the news until the final 10000m result had been confirmed.