Before Jenny Simpson was the Olympic medalist and world champion we now know, she was a college senior at Colorado thrown to the wolves in a loaded 1500 meter field at the 2009 Pre Classic.
Against the likes of Shannon Rowbury, Anna Willard and Christin Wurth-Thomas, it was the then-steeplechase specialist who unleashed a furious kick on the final straightaway that we’ve now gotten to know so well.
The question with just meters to run was whether she’d be about to eek out the win.
Simpson ultimately wasn’t quite able to catch Ethiopia’s Gelete Burka, but set did set a massive personal best of 3:59.90. That’s a mark that she wasn’t able to better for five whole years, when she ran her current PR of 3:57.22 in 2014.
The rest of the 2009 track season was a strong one for the U.S. women’s middle distance squad. Simpson went on to finish fifth in the steeplechase at the Berlin World Championships (the last time she would compete in that distance in a major championship), while at the same meet Rowbury, Wurth-Thomas, and Willard finished third, fifth, and sixth, respectively, in the 1500 meters.
You can catch Simpson back at Hayward Field at Pre this Saturday against a who’s who of the world’s milers, including Rio gold medalist Faith Kipyegon, Laura Muir, and Rowbury.
Side note: The sea of Nike runners wearing kits with “Livestrong” plastered on the front of it hasn’t aged so well, has it?