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New Balance 5th Avenue Mile

Sunday September 9th, 2018
Manhattan, NY
Distance: 1 Mile

The New Balance 5th Avenue Mile opens a beautiful 20-block stretch of 5th Avenue to runners of all ages and abilities who want to run their best mile in New York City. Special races include a youth mile, the George Sheehan Memorial Mile for runners age 60 and over, the NYRR Road Mile Championships, and Olympic-caliber professional men's and women's races.

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New Balance 5th Avenue Mile
Prize Money: $32,000

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Race Date: 09/10/2017 Distance: Mile
Division Time Name Age Home
Male 3:51 Nick Willis 34 NZL
2nd Male 3:52 Chris O Hare 26 GBR
3rd Male 3:52 Ben Blankenship 28 Eugene, OR
4th Male 3:53 Adel Mechaal 26 ESP
Female 4:17 Jenny Simpson 31 Boulder, CO
2nd Female 4:17 Laura Weightman 26 GBR
3rd Female 4:17 Jessica Judd 22 GBR
4th Female 4:18 Brenda Martinez 30 Big Bear Lake, CA
Division Time Name Age Home
M 40-49 4:20 Frederic Gilbert 49 France
M 50-59 4:29 Todd Straka 50 Boulder, CO
M 60-69 5:13 Charlie Muse 61 Boston, MA
F 40-49 5:03 Renee Tolan 42 Clifton Park, NY
F 50-59 5:17 Fiona Bayly 50 NY, NY
F 60-69 6:28 Tracey Bernett 61 Niwot, CO
New Balance 5th Avenue Mile

The 2017New Balance 5th AvenueMile featured more than 7,500 runners streaming down the east side of Central Park, the largest field in the event's 37-year history. With the biggest field to date, the race's professional athletes provided historic performances to match, with Jenny Simpson extending her record for most wins in event history to six, and Nick Willis tying the men's record with his fourth win.

Although the course covered just 20 blocks of New York City streets, the event offered a range of opportunities for different types of runners.

For locals, it was a chance toout sprint their crosstown rivals in the2017 NYRR Club Points standings, or to earn credit toward their9+1program in only a matter of minutes;for the professional athlete fields, it meant one final race to close out their season;but for all runners who lined up at East 80th Street today, the race served as a way to challenge themselves and chase a new personal best with a straight shot down 5th Avenue.

The Local Races

With 23 heats of one mile, plus three shorter-distance races for kids, the morning was filled with milers speeding down 5th Avenue. The day began with age-group heats, followed by specialty races—including the NYPD/FDNY Mile, the brand-new New Balance 5-Borough Mile, and the second-annual NYRR Youth Wheelchair Invitational Mile—as well as the NYRR Road Mile Championships for local elites.

In the battle of New York's Finest versus New York's Bravest, the FDNY's Timothy Clarke, from Brooklyn, followed up his win last year with a 4:38 to break the tape today, although the NYPD claimed the team victory.

In the New Balance 5-Borough Mile, pitted teams of 20 runners from each of New York's boroughs against one another, all decked out in custom New Balance race-day kits.

Daniel Lewis, representing Staten Island, crossed the finish line first in 4:27, while Brooklyn proved itself the fastest borough, winning the team title.

Then in the NYRR Road Mile Championships, Jack Hallas, from Liversedge, England, broke the tape in the men's race in 4:06.4, while Kristin Andrews of Englishtown, NJ won the women's race in 4:42.4—just minutes before her brother, Robby Andrews, competed in the men's professional race.

The Pro Races

The men's and women's professional athlete fields featured 29 athletes who had competed in this summer's IAAF World Championships in London, all of whom looked for one last fast performance to end their 2017 season.

In the men's race, a steady pack held together through the quarter-mile mark, cracking slightly as Drew Windle and Craig Engels dashed ahead to take the $1,000 prime for leading at the halfway point.

As the pack's pace wound up in the second half, Nick Willis of New Zealand used his experience with the course to power away in the final quarter-mile. The Kiwi became a four-time 5th Avenue Mile winner in 3:51.3, tying Isaac Viciosa of Spain for the most victories by a male athlete in event history. Finishing second was Chris O'Hare of Great Britain in 3:52.0, with American Ben Blankenship third in 3:52.3.

In the grand finale, the women's pro race featured Jenny Simpson of the United States looking to break her own record with a sixth win on 5th Avenue, and she delivered on her pre-race goals. Keeping toward the front of the pack for all 20 blocks, she held off persistent challenges from Jessica Judd and Laura Weightman of Great Britain to break the tape in 4:16.6, equaling the event record time set by PattiSue Plumer in 1990. Weightman would finish second in 4:17.6, as Judd rounded out the top three in 4:18.3.

The women's race also rewrote the 5th Avenue Mile record books, as runners recorded five of the top 10 times in event history today. Brenda Martinez of the United States—the 2012 5th Avenue Mile winner—placed fourth today in 4:18.4, while Great Britain's Eilish McColgan ran 4:19.2 for fifth.

Post-race, Simpson commented on what it meant to match a time that had stood for 27 years, and to end her season with a record-setting performance:

"I thought the course record would have been out of reach for my whole career, so I’m really proud to have equaled it.” She added,“I’ve had all the range of emotions before on 5th Avenue. I’ve finished this race before and cried because the season felt so long. I’ve finished this race before and hoped there was another race the next week. I feel so appropriately in the middle of those two emotions right now.”

After earning her fourth global championship medal this summer, and then breaking her own record for most 5th Avenue Mile wins and equaling the event record today, Simpson has plenty to celebrate as she looks back on this season and ahead to next year.

Copyright 2018