Jenny Simpson Aims For Sixth Title, Course Record At 5th Avenue Mile

The New Balance 5th Avenue Mile this Sunday is the final race of the season for many professional middle distance runners.

Athletes race down 5th Avenue next to Central Park from 80th Street to 60th Street in New York City. Up for grabs is $30,000 worth of prize money, including $5,000 for the men's and women's champions, plus an additional $1,000 prize for the leader at halfway as long as that individual finishes in 4:00 or faster for men and 4:32 or faster for women.

Full prize money breakdown below:

1st: $5,000
2nd: $3,500
3rd: $2,500
4th: $1,500
5th: $1,000
6th: $750
7th: $500
8th: $250

Women's Mile

When: 1:35 PM ET
Course Record: 4:16.68 (PattiSue Plummer, USA, 1990)
2016 Champion: Jenny Simpson, USA, 4:18.30

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ATHLETE Mile PB
Jenny Simpson (USA) 4:19.98
Laura Weightman (GBR) 4:20.88
Ciara Mageean (IRL) 4:22.40
Linden Hall (AUS) 4:23.96
Shelby Houlihan (USA) 4:24.16
Colleen Quigley (USA) 4:24.88
Lauren Johnson (USA) 4:25.04
Eilish McColgan (GBR) 4:25.6r
Brenda Martinez (USA) 4:26.76
Heather Kampf (USA) 4:27.23
Margherita Magnani (ITA) 4:27.51
Hannah Fields (USA) 4:28.32
Dominique Scott-Efurd (RSA) 4:28.47
Cory McGee (USA) 4:28.55
Jessica Judd (GBR) 4:28.59
Emma Coburn (USA) 4:29.86
Courtney Frierichs (USA) N/A
Emily Infeld (USA) 4:31.50
Emily Lipari (USA) 4:31.68
Sarah McDonald (GBR) 4:32.06
Genevieve LaCaze (AUS) 4:32.19
Sara Vaughn (USA) 4:34.29
Can Jenny Simpson win her sixth title at the 5th Avenue Mile? She's already the only athlete in event history to win five titles, and the 31-year-old is coming off a silver medal at the IAAF World Championships in London in the 1500m, her fourth career global championships medal to go with her bronze at the Olympics last summer.

Simpson is far from the only world medalist in this distinguished field. Fellow American Emma Coburn is fresh off a shocking victory in the steeplechase at the London worlds, and she also earned bronze in her specialty event in Rio. Courtney Frerichs, the silver medalist for steeplechase in London, is also here, as is Emily Infeld, the bronze medalist for 10K at the 2015 World Championships.

Of course, the mile distance favors a middle-distance pedigree, whether it's on the track or the road. Brenda Martinez, the 2013 World Championships silver medalist for 800m, will be a tough competitor, though she was defeated just this week by former Villanova NCAA champion Emily Lipari in a personal best of 4:28 at the HOKA ONE ONE Long Island Mile.


Laura Weightman of Great Britain is the only woman in the field besides Simpson to make the final at the 2017 worlds and 2016 Olympic Games, where she placed sixth and seventh, respectively.  

Another goal on Simpson's mind may be PattiSue Plummer's long-standing course record of 4:16.68, set in 1990. Simpson owns three of the top ten times in event history, with a best mark of 4:18.3.

"The course record is really strong," Simpson said when asked about her chances to better Plummer's mark. "It would be hard to break, but I think there's been no better year . . . having so many medalists in the field and so many people who are still sharp at the end of the season, I certainly think it's possible."

Men's Mile

When: 1:50 PM ET
Course Record: 3:47.52 (Sydney Maree, South Africa, 1981)
2016 Champion: Eric Jenkins, USA, 3:49.40

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ATHLETE Mile PB
Nick Willis (NZL) 3:49.83
Edward Cheserek (KEN) 3:52.01
Kyle Merber (USA) 3:52.22
Ryan Gregson (AUS) 3:52.24
Chris O'Hare (GBR) 3:52.91
Ben Blakenship (USA) 3:53.04
Johnny Gregorek (USA) 3:53.15
Robby Andrews (USA) 3:53.16
Eric Jenkins (USA) 3:53.23
Filip Ingebrigtsen (NOR) 3:53.23
Jake Wightman (GBR) 3:54.20
Ryan Hill (USA) 3:54.89
Colby Alexander (USA) 3:54.94
Graham Crawford (USA) 3:56.05
Daniel Winn (USA) 3:57.36
Patrick Tiernan (AUS) 3:57.59
Craig Engels (USA) 3:57.67
Mason Ferlic (USA) 4:00.50
Kemoy Campbell (JAM) 4:00.98
Adel Mechaal (ESP) 4:03.0r
Michael Rimmer (GBR) 4:04.0r
Drew Windle (USA) 4:09.84
The men's race is a much different story from the women's competition, as there is no sure favorite a lá Jenny Simpson. It seems likely that a 1500m specialist should secure the win, though 5K specialist Eric Jenkins returns here as the defending champion after somehow outrunning Rio 1500m gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz for last year's title.

Jenkins has been surprisingly accomplished at the 1500m and mile distances despite his forté for the 5K, an event in which he made his first World Championships berth for Team USA this summer. He has a bit of an axe to grind, as he has not raced since narrowly missing out on the Worlds final in London. Fellow 5K representative Ryan Hill will also race here after missing out on the world final, as he had to withdraw from the competition due to illness.

The smart money, though, is on Norway's Filip Ingebrigtsen, who kicked past Asbel Kiprop to earn bronze at the World Championships 1500m in London. Of the men's field in New York, three also competed in the world final: Nick Willis, a two-time Olympic medalist who placed eighth; Johnny Gregorek, who placed 10th in his world champs debut; and Chris O'Hare, who placed 12th in London and won the HOKA ONE ONE Long Island Mile this week over many of the men who will race here.


Perhaps no one has more to prove than Robby Andrews, the 2017 U.S. champion for 1500m who was forced to withdraw from worlds with an injury one year after being disqualified from the Olympic semifinal. Since then, he has raced once: a 4:03 in the mile for 13th place at the Birmingham Diamond League.

A wildcard in New York City will be Edward Cheserek, who announced his partnership with Skechers this week. The 23-year-old has won 17 NCAA titles and owns the second-fastest mile time in the field at 3:52.01, which broke the NCAA indoor record in February. This race will be his first since winning the Pac-12 10K title in early May, immediately after which he ended his season -- and the chance for more NCAA titles -- due to a back injury.

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