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Saturday, 07 February 2015 18:38

At New Balance Indoor GP, Simpson Looks for the Perfect 16 Laps

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Simpson at the 2014 NB Indoor GP Simpson at the 2014 NB Indoor GP
Jenny Simpson is an athlete with poise and grace. She answers questions in a relaxed manner and in complete thoughts and sentences. A professional athlete since 2010, her brand, New Balance made a big gamble with her and it has paid off! 
World gold in 2011, World silver in 2013 and numero UNO ranking in 2014, as she took on all, from Abeba Aregawi to Sifan Hassan and all in between and kicked butt. Her battles with Shannon Rowbury at the end of last season were tremendous and exciting. 
Yesterday, Jenny gave a press conference, emceed by Toni Reavis, one of the most thoughtful and funny commentators in our sport. 
Last year, in the heat of battle, Jenny Simpson started her kick a lap too early. On a 200 meter track, she raced 3000 meters and not 3200 meters. But Jenny figured it out and battled to take second, with Sally KIpyego taking the win. Her 9:26.19 was just off the two-mile America record. 
Jenny Simpson took it well and handled the jibes for a year, but tonight, watch her race sixteen laps on the new Reggie Lewis track and it’s my guess that she’ll destroy the AR. I have seen some fast women's indoor two miles, dating back to Cathy Branta and Lynn Jenning dueling over the two mile at Meadowlands in January 1986! I believe Lynn ran an AR then of 9:28. 
Jenny Simpson is great with the press: “Last year, I made a mistake. Four and one half years into my professional career, I miscounted laps. I am as fit and healthy at this time of the year. I am ready to race over sixteen laps this time.”
Jenny can handle anything. 
Last summer, in Paris, I was thrilled to be in Stade de France in St. Denis to watch one of the most exciting races over 1,500 meters I have ever seen. Sifan Hassan and Jenny Simpson dueled to the finish, back and forth and both not giving up. Sifan Hassan set the NR and European records with her 3:57.00 and Jenny Simpson, never giving up, ran 3:57.22! 
After the European Champs and Commonwealth Games break, Jenny Simpson beat Sifan Hassan in Stockholm and Zurich and Brussels, giving her the numero uno Miler in the world rankings by the bible of the sport, Track & Field News. 
Of that memorable season, Jenny said  this: “I think it is so tempting, how much more can I get if I train harder, after having a season like 2014. The more reasonable, smarter and wiser it is to keep doing what you are doing. Building a year on top of year, that does not change.” 
Jenny Simpson is a savvy racer, but also a savvy trainer. Her support team, from Mark Wetmore and Heather Burroughs, the coaches at Colorado, to her husband, Jason Simpson. 
Jenny Simpson is prone to self-analysis. On her ten years at Colorado, Jenny noted that when she told Heather Burroughs, one of her coaches, that she had been in the same environs for ten years, Heather teased her a bit. 
Truth is, longevity in coaching athlete relationships and finding relationships that work is key in athlete success. 
Jenny Simpson will run fine for sixteen laps, an iconic distance for American juniors, but of little interest for most of the world. 
More importantly is how Jenny Simpson does this coming summer in Beijing.
Observing Jenny Simpson as I do, my belief is that she will be ready and confident in Beijing.
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