By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission. (11-Jan) — On Sunday, 2011 World Athletics 1500m champion Jenny Simpson will make her half-marathon debut at the Aramco Houston Half-Marathon. For Simpson, 36, it will be the longest race of her life. She has previously run two 10-mile races, the 2021 Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10-Mile (52:16) and the 2022 Army Ten-Miler (54:16). If she breaks 1:12:00 she will qualify for the 2024 USA Olympic Team Trials Marathon in Orlando.Simpson spent nearly her entire professional career sponsored by New Balance, but that came to an end last December. She is now sponsored by Puma.
Race Results Weekly spoke to her on Monday from her home in Boulder, Colorado. Our conversation was edited for length and clarity.
Race Results Weekly: At the end of 2021 you decided to hang up your track spikes and commit to longer distances on the roads. What’s the journey been like so far?
Jenny Simpson: It’s a new journey. At the very onset of it, I had an idea of how it would go. I guess it’s probably fair to say that I really mentally and emotionally made this shift at the beginning of 2022, that I’m dedicating my next training stretch to longer distances. Things immediately did not go to plan, and I had a year of a lot of interruptions, injuries, and setbacks. So, I think it’s been such an interesting path for me. I wanted something different, and I’ve gotten something way more different than I knew I was signing up for.
RRW: How has it been different?
JS: It’s different in two ways. The first is my running career up to 2022 was so specifically planned and dialed in. I didn’t have trouble overcoming difficulties along the way, sticking to the plan. The fact that my plan has kind of been derailed in so many different ways, and I’ve had to stick it out, that’s been new for me. You know, not running a track season, not running the U.S. Championships. All of that has been really different.
And the other way that it’s been really difficult is I said from the beginning that going to the roads and doing longer stuff would be like taking on a new sport. And I think I kind of said that without full awareness of how true that would be. The last year has really taught me that I have a lot to learn. It’s not just that I…