March 16 2018
Amanda McGrory checks in days before she is to compete in the pro wheelchair division in the United Airlines NYC Half Marathon.
If ever there was an athlete to watch in the 1,500 meters, it’s Jenny Simpson. Not just for grit, dedication and respect for the sport and what it takes to succeed, but also for her positive attitude and the joy she continues to pour into everything she does. And one should never underestimate her in a championship situation, even when the race looks tight. That definitely held true during the world championships in the 1,500 meters, where she earned yet another “global” medal against a deep field of fast women. Olympic champion in the 800 meters Caster Semenya, 2015 world champion Sifan Hassan and the Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon were all racing Simpson.
Running up front during the first lap, Simpson and Great Britain’s Laura Muir led the pack, and Simpson as always looked calm as hell. Even when she got sucked into the middle of the mix during the middle laps—the same thing happened during heats and semi-finals, to which Simpson responded she was “never worried”—she looked relaxed as ever.
Following the semi-finals, Simpson did say she would be running like there’s an American flag waiting for her…and she definitely did that in tremendous fashion, without any hints at nerves or self doubt. She stumbled briefly when getting mixed up with other runners during the third lap, but perhaps that’s all part of a race as fast at this one. She held onto her strong position until the always-epic final 150 meters, where for just a moment, it looked as though she was finishing fourth, maybe even fifth. Then her signature third gear kicked in, and she not only passed Muir to move into third, but she kept going and passed the fading world champ on the inside to squeeze into second place during the final moments across the line.
It. Was. Outstanding.
Her final time was 4:02.76, less than a second behind winner Kipyegon, but her celebration after crossing the line was as good as gold. That smile is forever one of our favorites on the track!