F8c and a 4 minute mile – Rich Simpson is back!

by Kevin Avery The Birmingham based climber Richard Simpson has recently redpointed the route Burn 4 U (F8c), in Germany´s Frankenjura. He commented on 8a.nu: “Not bad for a Boxer. 8C and 4 minute mile in one month… One month´s training.” Although no stranger to hard ascents having previously climbed desperate test-pieces like Hubble F8c+, Action Direct F9a and the first ascent of A Muerte F9a it was reported that he had given up the sport to pursue other interests, namely boxing and running. In December of 2006 he made a public acknowledgement of this (see UKC news story HERE) stating: “Unfortunately for me I have lost all motivation to climb. I now thoroughly enjoy boxing and running and have significant goals in both.” However with this recent ascent,coupled with a fairly remarkable athletic achievement (all in the space of a month) it now appears that his motivation may have returned. I was interested to find out more so I caught up with Rich. This is what he had to say:”Burn 4 U took 4 tries one morning this year (although I´d already spent two days on the climb in 2005). I´d been climbing again for about 6 weeks beforehand, mainly at Warwick climbing wall with a good friend Chris Lancaster.””With regards to the mile. It´s been a lifelongambition (I came from a running background). I´d previously run several miles under 4.05 minutes, but never broken the 4 minute barrier. I ran 3.58 whilst pace setting at the Alexandre Stadium (I was supposed to drop out after three laps, but felt strong so continued). Just a 2.30 marathon to go now, which I hope to do in New York this November.” So is a major climbing comeback on the cards? Watch this space!