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Posted: September 11, 2021:  

(RRW) Athletics: Cherry Blossom Features Rare Match-Up Between Hall & Simpson

From David Monti, @d9monti
© 2021 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved.

(11-Sep) -- Tomorrow's Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile in Washington, D.C., will feature a rare head-to-head race between two of America's top, veteran distance runners, Sara Hall and Jenny Simpson. Hall, 38, of Flagstaff, Arizona, is a ten-time national champion and America's second-fastest marathoner of all time (2:20:32). Simpson, 35, of Boulder, Colorado, is a four-time global medalist at 1500m who was the World Athletics 1500m champion in 2011. Both of them will be competing in the USATF 10 Mile Championships which the Cherry Blossom is hosting.

PHOTO: Sara Hall winning the 2021 MasterCard New York Mini 10-K (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

But despite their similar ages, Hall and Simpson have largely competed in different events throughout their careers. An analysis of historical results by Race Results Weekly showed that the two have not been in the same race in nearly ten years. The last time they faced-off was at the 2012 USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on February 25 and 26. There they faced each other twice, first in the 3000m on Saturday (Simpson won in 9:19.15 and Hall was fourth in 9:21.87), and in the 1500m on Sunday (Simpson won again in 4:15.04 while Hall was sixth in 4:21.64).

The year before, in 2011, the pair competed in those same championships, also in Albuquerque, with Simpson winning both the mile and the 3000m, while Hall finished fourth and second, respectively.

The Race Results Weekly analysis found that Hall and Simpson had faced each other nine times during their careers since they first met in 2008 at a low-key meeting in Lucerne, Switzerland, where they both ran the 1500m (Simpson finished ninth and Hall was 11th). In those nine races, Simpson beat Hall eight times.

But it's important to note that in all of their match-ups Hall was competing on Simpson's turf, mostly track races of 3000m or shorter (there was one 5000m). On Sunday in Washington, Simpson will be racing Hall on pavement, her rival's best surface. Hall is one of the most accomplished American road racers of all time. She has won USA road running titles from the mile to the marathon, and has a 10-mile personal best of 52:47. Simpson will be making her debut at the distance.

PHOTO: Jenny Simpson after winning her 8th New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile in 2019 (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

Although Simpson's professional road racing experience has been limited to the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile, which she won a record eight times from 2011 to 2019, she ran in several road races as a teenager when she was growing up in Ovideo, Florida, about two miles northeast of Orlando. Then running under her birth name, Jenny Barringer, Simpson won two road races in February, 2005, the Florida Hospital Lady Track Shack 5-K (where she beat 1290 other women in 17:35), and the Outback Distance Classic 12-K (where she ran 44:53; she was also second in 2004). She was 18 at the time.

When Race Results Weekly playfully asked Simpson whether running ten-5:20 miles would be harder than running one 4:20 mile she quipped: "Ha ha... I'm hoping not, but we'll see!!!"

The 2021 Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Miler can be watched LIVE on on Sunday, September 12. The broadcast begins at 7:10 a.m. EDT.

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