It’s been a while since the running world last saw American steeplechaser Evan Jager take to the track after he missed the 2019 season due to injury, but he’s back and looking like a threat heading towards Tokyo 2020. Jager’s last race was over 17 months ago at the 2018 Diamond League Final in Switzerland, where he came away with a bronze medal in the 3,000m steeplechase.
Jager’s return to racing was at a much more modest event than his last, this time in Seattle at the University of Washington Invitational. Jager competed in the mile, and he took the win in a time of 3:56.50, crossing the line ahead of his Bowerman Track Club teammate Sean McGorty, who placed second in 3:57.19.
He’s back! @EvanJager takes the men’s invitational mile in 3:56.50!
— TrackTown USA (@GoTrackTownUSA) February 2, 2020
Jager has been sidelined with a foot injury for the past year and a half. Heading into 2019, he had hoped to compete in the steeplechase at the USATF Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, an event which he had won each year since 2012. Jager didn’t recover in time for the race, however, and he ultimately pulled the plug on the rest of his 2019 season.
That seems to have been a wise decision on Jager’s part, as he now looks to be in great form moving forward in 2020. In the meantime, Jager will have to stay healthy as the season progresses. If he can manage that, he will definitely be an athlete to watch at the US Olympic Trials in June and, if all goes well for him, Tokyo later this summer.
After taking Olympic silver in Rio in 2016 and bronze at the world championships in 2017, Jager will likely have his eyes set on gold in Tokyo. With his comeback performance in Seattle, he looks to be right on track.
Full results from the UW Invitational can be found here.