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Jenny Simpson Takes on New Challenge at Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando

SportsJenny Simpson Takes on New Challenge at Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando

Oviedo Star Jenny Simpson Ventures into Marathon Territory

Jenny Barringer Simpson, the renowned former Oviedo track and cross country star, is set to make history at the U.S. Olympic team trials in Orlando. Simpson, who has achieved remarkable success in track events, including winning NCAA championships and earning a bronze medal in the 2016 Olympic Games, is now preparing for her debut marathon on a grand stage.

A Storied Career of Triumphs

Simpson’s illustrious career has seen her win eight state championships in high school, four NCAA championships at the University of Colorado, and United States and world championships in the 1,500 meters. Despite being the American record-holder in the 1,500, there is one challenge she has never tackled—until now.

Simpson’s Return to Orlando: A Homecoming

Simpson, now 37, expressed her excitement about returning to Orlando for this significant milestone. The marathon, starting and finishing downtown at Lake Eola, holds a special place for her as it brings her back to where her journey began. Simpson acknowledges the support she has received from friends, family, and her hometown, making this race a unique and emotional experience.

The Marathon Debut

For the first time, Simpson will venture into the marathon distance, a decision inspired by her husband’s participation in the 2020 U.S. marathon qualifying in Atlanta. Although Jason did not make the Olympic team, his experience ignited a spark in Jenny.

Simpson confessed, “After COVID … just like a lot of the rest of the world, I’m kind of looking at my life with this kind of forced pause and I’m thinking, ‘What do I want when my career is over?’ And I thought, ‘You know what? I want to experience the marathon before this is over.’”

Familiar Ground: Track Shack’s Support

Orlando’s Track Shack holds sentimental value for Simpson, as it’s where she bought her first pair of running shoes. Having familiar faces involved in the marathon provides a sense of peace and comfort amid the professional pressure of a major competition. Simpson appreciates the unique experience of having people she knows and trusts running the show.

Overcoming Challenges and Nerves

Simpson, facing injuries in recent years, acknowledged that the U.S. marathon trials were not initially intended to mark her marathon debut. However, life often takes unexpected turns, and Simpson finds herself facing a new challenge on familiar ground.

“I would not say that this was the ideal scenario,” Simpson admitted. “But, you know, in life you never know what’s gonna happen.”

Nervousness, a constant companion for any competitive runner, is not foreign to Simpson. Despite her numerous successes, she emphasized the permanent presence of nerves, describing them as an integral part of the experience.

Looking Ahead: A Marathon, Not a Farewell

As Simpson gears up for her debut marathon, she dismisses any notion of it marking the end of her illustrious career. Acknowledging that her athletic journey is closer to the end than the beginning, she remains focused on the present but has started contemplating the next chapter after her athletic career.

“My career is certainly closer to the end than the beginning,” Simpson reflected. “I’m aware of that and I’m starting to try and wrap my mind around what the next chapter after being an athlete might look like, but I have no intentions of this being the last time I lace up racing shoes.”


Jenny Simpson’s foray into marathon running at the U.S. Olympic team trials in Orlando adds another chapter to her storied career. Returning to her roots and facing a new challenge, Simpson embraces the marathon distance with the same determination that has characterized her athletic journey. As she laces up for the race, Orlando witnesses a homecoming and a display of resilience from one of its own athletic stars. The marathon debut is not an end but a continuation of a remarkable career that has left an indelible mark on the world of track and field.

FAQs – Jenny Simpson Says She Plans To Run The U.S. Marathon Trials

Q1: When and where does Jenny Simpson plan to run the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials?

Jenny Simpson plans to run the 2024 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando on Feb. 3, 2024.

Q2: Has Jenny Simpson announced which marathon she will debut in before the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando?

Jenny Simpson has not yet announced which marathon she will debut in before the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando, although she has subtly noted her intention to make her marathon debut before February’s race.

Q3: What criticism has the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials course in Orlando faced, and why?

The U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials course in Orlando faced much criticism, particularly for the decision to start the race at noon.

Q4: Can you provide a brief overview of Jenny Simpson’s running career and achievements?

Jenny Simpson had a successful career on the track from 2007 to 2021, including an Olympic bronze medal in 2016, the 2011 world championship gold medal, and two world championship silver medals. She has decided to shift her focus to road racing.

Q5: When did Jenny Simpson sign with PUMA, and how has her performance been since then?

Jenny Simpson parted ways with longtime sponsor New Balance in 2022 and signed with PUMA. Since the change in October 2022, she has raced three times and qualified for the marathon trials with a 1:10:35 for ninth place at the Houston Half in January.

Q6: Is Jenny Simpson planning to run a fall marathon before the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando?

Jenny Simpson has hinted at making her debut before the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando, possibly indicating a fall marathon. However, she was not included in the Chicago Marathon’s elite field, and the possibility of running the New York City Marathon on Nov. 5 is also uncertain.

Q7: What motivated Jenny Simpson to transition from track events to longer road races like marathons?

Jenny Simpson was motivated by watching her husband participate in marathons and the realization that, as she gets older, she didn’t want to run out of good years to give to something intriguing. She aims to embrace a sense of freedom and pursue something different from the typical prescribed path.

Q8: Can you share Jenny Simpson’s perspective on her career shift and goals for the marathon?

Jenny Simpson views her transition to longer road races as a way to seek new adventures. She expressed the desire to spend the last few years of her career doing marathon races and learning something about herself in the process.


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