Jenny Simpson, most decorated U.S. Miler, shifts focus with new Puma sponsorship
“My intention is to turn my focus to the roads... I’m going to let the races, training and coaching guide the next steps as they come."
By Nick Zaccardi, NBC Sports
Jenny Simpson, the most decorated U.S. female Miler in history, plans to return to racing on Sunday with a new shoe sponsor, Puma.
Simpson, whose last race was the Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile road race in Washington, D.C., in September 2021, according to World Athletics, will run what she called “a little rust-buster” at the Army Ten-Miler in Washington, D.C. (NOTE: she won the race in 54 minutes, 16 seconds).
“My intention is to turn my focus to the roads,” Simpson, 36, wrote in an email. “I have some great PUMA spikes that I love so the track isn’t off the table. But my emphasis will be road racing.”
Last year’s Cherry Blossom was her first race longer than 5000 meters, according to World Athletics. What are the chances she eventually moves up to the marathon distance?
“This new chapter is an exploration,” she answered. “I’m going to let the races, training and coaching guide the next steps as they come. I know I can physically do it, it’s a matter of whether I can be great at it and my team and I will only go there if we think we can be competitive. So, let’s say for chances… 51%.”
Simpson made her first Olympic team in 2008 in the 3000m steeplechase, then in 2012 and 2016 in the 1500m, earning a bronze medal in Rio. She is the only U.S. woman to win a world 1500m title (2011) or an Olympic 1500m medal.
From 2007 through 2019, Simpson finished in the top three in one of the 1500m, 5000m or 3000m steeplechase at all 13 USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships. Last year, she was 10th in the Olympic Trials 1500m in a bid to become the oldest U.S. Olympic 1500m runner in history, according to Olympedia.org.
Simpson focused much of her time this year helping her Colorado community heal and rebuild from a late December fire. The record 8-time 5th Avenue Mile champion did not enter the USATF Outdoors for the first time since 2006.