If It’s Spring, It Must Be Time For
Jenny Simpson Steeple Speculation
by Jeff Hollobaugh
Whatever the reason, two-time World Champs 1500 medalist Jenny Simpson is fending off the annual bloom of speculation about whether she might switch back to the steeplechase, the event in which as a not-yet-married Jenny Barringer she placed 4th globally back in ’09, her senior year at Colorado.
“Every single year I get questions about whether I'm going to run the steeplechase or not,” she laughs. “It's so funny. I haven't run steeplechase since 2009 and still now, 7 years later, I'm still answering questions about the steeplechase.”
Simpson still technically holds the American Record of 9:12.50 from the the ’09 Worlds, though training partner Emma Coburn surpassed it with an unratified 9:11.42 in 2014.
She admits she still occasionally incorporates steeple exercises into her training. “Every single time these rumors start, this is how it happens… and I train with two steeplechasers [Coburn and 9:35 performer Shalaya Kipp].”
Despite laughing off the prospect, Simpson—like any smart athlete—never closes the door completely. “The truth is, every single year I train for multiple events,” she explains. “I’ve run the 5000 at USA's, I’ve run 800s.
“I’m always training to have such a range of ability when I reach the U.S. championships that I can choose the event that's best for me.”
However, a betting fan might be foolish to put money on seeing her return to the barriers. “Right now on my schedule all I have planned for racing is the 1500,” she tells T&FN. She will be running that event at the Drake Relays, and also at several Diamond League events.
By the way, a double—while perhaps not technically impossible—looks quite forbidding on the Trials schedule, with the steeple final little more than an hour after start of the 1500’s first round.
April 12, 2016