May 18, 2014
Jenny Simpson gave US fans a thrill but in the end there was no stopping Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi. Aregawi, the 2013 world outdoor and 2014 world indoor 1500 champ, came up with a 29.5 ish second final 200 to pull away from Simpson and get the win in a world leading 3:58.72. Simpson was clearly second best. Driving all the way to the line in quest for a new pb and sub-4 clocking, Simpson came up just short as ran 4:00.42 – just off her 3:59.98 pb which dates to 2009.
The Netherlands Sifan Hassan, the early leader in 2014 in the 5000 thanks to her 14:59 win at Payton Jordan, was third in a big new pb of 4:01.19 (previous pb 4:03.73) as Kenya’s Viola Kibiwot was fourth in 4:01.31.
Americans Treniere Moser and Morgan Uceny had disappointing days as Moser was eight in 4:06.38 and Uceny 10th in 4:10.93.
US visitors who got up very early Sunday morning to watch the women’s 1500 meter clash between 2011 World Champion Jenny Simpson of the US and 2013 World Champion Abeba Aregawi of Sweden may have been rubbing their eyes, wondering if they were still asleep 300 meters into this one.
300 meters into this one, Simpson was way back in 9th place.
With 2 laps remaining, she wasn’t even in the picture, still in 9th.
What hell was she doing?
Running an incredible smart race. The rest of the field was going out super-fast. Simpson, who as a someone coached by Mark Wetmore is going to try to run even, was running nearly perfectly even.
The rabbits took the race out very fast(62.27 for 400, 2:06.69 for 800) but once the field hit 800, they seemingly hit the brakes as Simpson made up a ton of ground between 800 and 1k and was in perfect position in fourth as they approached the bell.
Perfectly even for Simpson indeed as we had her in an unofficial 64.5, 2:09, and 3:14 for 400, 800 and 1200. On the backstretch, it soon turned into a two person affair but as Simpson tried to challenge Aregawi as they approached the final turn, Aregawi found another gear and pulled away. Nonetheless, Simpson had a big last 300 as she closed in 46 (29.9-30.0 last 200, 61 last lap).
Quick Thought #1: Simpson should be proud of the race she ran but Aregawi is just a little bit better than her.
Simpson should be happy as today she ran faster than she did all of last year (4:00.48). It’s actually only the third time in her career she’s ever broken 4:02.00.
Losing to Aregawi is nothing to be ashamed of. Head to head, Aregawi is 6 and 1 against Simpson with the lone loss coming the first time they raced in Monaco in 2011 when Aregawi ran 4:10.
This is actually the closest Simpson has ever been to Aregawi in a rabbited race on the DL circuit since beating her in her first ever matchup.
Aregawi’s Margin of Victory Over Simpson on the Diamond League:
2.67 – Stockholm 2012
3.09 – Zurich 2012
2.07 – Rome 2013
5.29 – Brussels
(At Worlds, Simpson finished just .32 behind Aregawi last year).
Quick Thought #2: Simpson will break 4:00.00 at Prefontaine.
As good as Jenny Simpson is, it’s hard to believe her personal best dates to the 2009 Prefontaine Classic when she was in college. Given her run today, you’d think she’d be able to break it in two weeks in Oregon.
In addition to nearly breaking 4;00 today, Simpson also should be encouraged that she both ran faster and finished closer to Aregawi than she did in her Diamond League (DL) opener last year.Last year, Simpson opened up on the DL circuit in June in Rome against Aregawi with a 4:02.30. Today, Simpson ran nearly two seconds faster. Now in Rome, the pace was slower and Simpson had the lead bell at 1100 and 1200 (3:17.1 at 1200 versus probably 3:14.1 for Simpson at 1200 today). The close was faster than today, which makes sense as the pace was slower, but Simpson lost by 2.07 over the final 300. Today, she was just 1.70 behind Aregawi despite already being behind her at 1200.
Quick Thought #3: A disappointing day for both Moser and Uceny.The pace was very hot early on. Bother Moser and Uceny went out behind Simpson near the back of the pack and tried to be smart about things. Moser was with the main pack in ninth as they approached the bell. Uceny never could regain contact with the leaders.
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