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What We Learned: Simpson Rocks, Bumbi is Underrated

Published by
RunnerSpace.com/Pro   on Sep 23 2013, 08:37 PM

This past weekend saw the conclusion of the 2013-racing season for many top U.S. distance runners. Between the USA 5 km Championships and the NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile, fans got one final fill of non-marathon competition. Here’s what we learned:

Jenny Simpson is the best middle distance runner in the United States, man or woman. Simpson simply dominated a very strong field at the Fifth Avenue Mile, winning by four seconds, and putting one last stamp on her comeback season.

Simpson’s season of success was a surprise to many, but what fans should really be looking forward to is next year. Simpson took a big step forward this year after reuniting with her former college coach Mark Wetmore. Few predicted she’s immediately jump back to medal winning status, but she did, which makes us wonder how much progress she’ll make next season. 

Whether she’s going after the top 1,500m time in the world next summer or proving she’s among the world’s elite at both 1,500m and 5,000m, Simpson seems confident and ready to prove she’s the very best in the world.

Did anyone else notice that Andrew Bumbalough won his first U.S. title at the USA 5 km Championships Sunday morning in Providence? While Bumbalough has shown time and again that he’s a top five 5k runner in the United States on the track, he still has room to improve and his Providence performance should give him a nice confidence boost heading into the off-season.

Meanwhile, Matt Tegenkamp finished third at the USA 5 km Championships, putting more points on his USARC standings lead and showing his fitness is utterly terrific heading into the Chicago Marathon. To finish third, nearly second, behind Bumbalough and Aaron Braun, Teg’s confidence is seemingly as strong as ever. It’s impressive that he flashed the speed he did considering he’s in marathon shape. Chicago is officially on notice!

In the women’s portion of the USA 5 km Championships, Molly Huddle repeated as champion, claiming the title over Emily Infeld. Huddle once again showed her veteran prowess and race savvy, holding back until the very last moment, then charging home for victory. Huddle, who lives in Providence, had the hometown crowd on her side and walked the few blocks home with a cool $5,000 in her back pocket.

By the way, it's awesome seeing Infeld challenge for the win and equally as awesome seeing Neely Spence Gracey back racing strong after injury. These are two bright stars of the sport that have so much potential to shine even brighter.

By the way Part II, here are the current USARC standings. Does anyone else notice Tim Ritchie is sixth on the men’s side? Quick, what college did he run for and how old is he. It’s dudes like Ritchie who inspire those of us looking for a blue-collar runner to latch on to.

At this point, you might be wondering what happened on the men’s side at the Fifth Avenue Mile. You probably already know, but here are some quick thoughts…

Bernard Lagat is a living legend. The man is starting to creep ever closer to 40 (he’s 38, almost 39) and he still destroys the best of American distance running on a continual basis. The fact that he placed second in NYC shows he’s not exactly slowing down.

Switching gears, the mile is such an intriguing event and I believe guys like Garrett Heath (third at Fifth Ave), Will Leer (fifth), David Torrence (sixth) and Craig Miller (seventh) could create a stirring mile series of road races. Think about it, these guys are on right on the edge of becoming the very best in the United States (aka making Team USA outdoor championship rosters), are evenly matched and know how to race road miles. A series of 5-6 road mile events over the course of the summer could be just what the doctor ordered for professional road RACING. Discuss here.

Okay, that last thought wasn’t quick, so here are some actual quick thoughts… 

I hope the United States dominates 1,500m running for the next three years. Morgan Uceny running so well in her final two races of the season is very encouraging and lets all hope she can jump back to the top of the world 1,500m list in 2014.

Meghan Peyton showed with her seventh place finish at the USA 5 km Championships that she’s in tiptop shape for the USA Marathon Championships. While Chicago and NYC garner most of the media attention, the Biwott-Boit and Nelson-Peyton battles in the Twin Cities are going to be classic.

Aaron Braun is overlooked and underrated. He’s been so quiet in 2013, but a runner-up finish on Sunday in Providence makes me hopeful that he can get back to where he was in 2012, which saw him place fifth in the 10k at the Olympic Trials, a mere second out of fourth and five seconds out of third.

Who’s excited for the Chicago Marathon in two weeks? Does anyone else love how quiet Dathan Ritzenhein has been the past bunch of weeks? It’s like he’s in super stealth mode and is ready to bust out a 2:05!

I am bummed Kara Goucher won’t be contending in New York in a few weeks, but I give her massive props for explaining what’s going on. It takes guts to put your thoughts out there like she did, to explain her ups and downs. Personalizing the athletes in our sport is needed and kudos to Kara for sharing what’s going on.

Last but not least, Desi Davila is running Berlin this coming weekend. Fingers crossed that the Hansons-Brooks standout can push herself back towards the top of international marathoning. Does anyone know where we can find a live feed?

Over and out!

---

Thoughts are those of Scott Bush and do not reflect Runnerspace 

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