An Olympic Runner’s New Training Partner

An Olympic Runner’s New Training Partner
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Welcome to the Running newsletter! Every Saturday morning, we email runners with news, advice and some motivation to help you get up and running. Sign up here to get it in your inbox.

Dear Readers,

I know things are tough out there, so instead of writing about tough news, this week I’m writing about a puppy. Specifically, this puppy:

Meet Truman.

Truman is a five-pound, 4-month-old Jack Russell terrier — maybe. His parentage is unknown, but I am confident in saying he is 100 percent adorable.

There he was adopted by one of America’s fastest runners, Jenny Simpson.

She and her husband, Jason Simpson, himself an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, adopted Truman right before Colorado went into lockdown.

Simpson is a three-time Olympian and won gold in the 1,500-meter race at the 2011 World Championships. Like many professional runners, she had her eyes set on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. And she, like many professional runners, has had those dreams paused with the Olympics delayed a year.

But now she has Truman, whose name comes from two sources: President Harry Truman, and “The Truman Show,” one of the couple’s favorite movies.

“When we realized we were going to adopt a puppy, we thought, our life is going to turn into ‘The Truman Show.’ That’s when the name stuck,” she said.

The Simpsons had long talked about getting a dog, but because her job usually requires a lot of travel, the discussions were only hypothetical. But when the couple realized they were going to be home for an extended period of time, they got more serious about looking. A Jack Russell terrier was on their short list of breeds to adopt. They saw Truman’s listing online — though he was then only known as “Puppy” — and applied.

Because of social distancing requirements, the couple didn’t get to meet Truman until he was put into Simpson’s arms (and then into her jacket) by his foster mom. “We didn’t know how little he was, or if he was a sweet boy,” she said. They didn’t need a play date to know, she said: This was their dog.

Truman has his own Instagram account, and has been popping up in videos Simpson has been doing for the Rising New York Road Runners program called “Stay Active at Home,” which is designed for kids who are stuck at home right now. Because of his size (small) and age (young), she hasn’t taken him running yet, except to do a few 10-second bursts at the end of walks.

She hopes that Truman brightens people’s days as much as he does hers.

“It does help you, when you’re facing so much uncertainty and the dominoes were starting to fall, to have this little life in your house that is totally unaware of the news,” she said. “I would walk into the other room, and there was this delightful little puppy that was only really interested in playing tug-of-war. There’s something really wonderful about that. I’m really glad that we have him during this time.”

One quick correction from last week’s newsletter: The company that put on the Quarantine Backyard Ultra is Personal Peak, not Peak Performance. I apologize for the error.

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