World Silver Medalists Symmonds, Simpson Lead Fifth Avenue Mile Fields
by Chris Lotsbom
(c) Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
(12-Sep) -- The New York Road Runners, organizers of the NYRR Fifth Avenue
Mile presented by Nissan, announced their professional fields for the
September 22, contest today, led by IAAF World Championships silver
medalists Nick Symmonds and Jenny Simpson. A total of 14 Olympians will toe
the starting line in New York City in front of the Metropolitan Museum of
Art for the world's largest road mile.
Headlining the men's race is Symmonds, who is coming off a breakthrough
track season that saw him break 1:44 for 800m five times, in addition to
earning his world championships runner-up finish. Symmonds, 29, will try to
become the third consecutive American winner of the event.
"I am extremely excited to be returning to the New York City Fifth Avenue
Mile this year," said Symmonds, who finished 17th in the 2011 edition. "I
will be bringing with me a new personal best in the 1500m and am sure to
need my new found strength in order to compete with the incredible field you
Among the field of nineteen men are 2011 race champion and two-time Olympic
medalist Bernard Lagat, Olympic medalists Leo Manzano and Nick Willis, as
well as 2013 USA Road Mile champion Garrett Heath. Seven members of Team USA
at last months IAAF World Championships will be racing, including Symmonds,
Lagat, Manzano, Ryan Hill, Daniel Huling, Evan Jager, and Lopez Lomong.
Other Americans entered are recent Grandma's Minnesota Mile champion Ben
Blankenship, 2013 national indoor mile and 3000m winner Will Leer, and
three-time national road mile champion David Torrence. Craig Miller and
Matthew Elliott round out the USA entries.
Notable international runners joining Willis --sixth in 2010-- are
Australians Collis Birmingham, Ryan Gregson, Ben St. Lawrence, and Brett
Robinson, and Mexico's Pablo Solares. Solares recently got engaged to
American miler Shannon Rowbury, who will be contesting the women's race.
"As is always the case, the Fifth Avenue Mile is a perfect way to finish off
a long season," Symmonds added. "The fun, energetic atmosphere of the event
combined with the amazing cultural opportunities to be had in New York make
it a must-run-race for me!"
The women's elite field is nearly as deep as the men's, with two-time World
Championships medalist Simpson leading the American charge. Simpson won the
race's 2011 edition in 4:22.3, and seeks to extend America's winning streak
at the event to five this year.
"I can't wait to return to New York City to once again wrap up my season at
the Fifth Avenue Mile," said Simpson, 27. "Returning to the U.S. after the
summer circuit and World Championships, Fifth Avenue will be both one last
chance to compete and a celebration of what has already been one of the best
seasons of my career. The New York Road Runners have created such a special
event. It is a favorite among American middle-distance runners."
Simpson will be joined on the line by four Olympians in Americans Rowbury
and Morgan Uceny, as well as Briton's Hannah England and Eilish McColgan.
Rowbury won both the 2009 and 2010 Fifth Avenue Miles, while England placed
third at last year's race and a heartbreaking fourth at the IAAF World
In addition to Simpson, Rowbury, and Uceny, Gabriele Anderson, Heather
Kampf, Katie Mackey, Chelsea Reilly, Nicole Schappert, and Sara Vaughn will
represent the American contingent at the race, in its 33rd year. Anderson is
coming off a course record victory at Sunday's Grandma's Minnesota Mile
(4:21.3), while Kampf was the 2012 USA Road Mile champion.
Former NCAA standouts from overseas will also be competing: Zoe Buckman, a
University of Oregon alum who finished seventh at the 2013 IAAF World
Championships 1500m, will be racing, as will former Florida State Seminoles
Susan Kuijken (Netherlands) and Violah Lagat (Kenya). Lagat is Bernard
Italy's Margherita Magnani, who also competed in the recent IAAF World
Championships, rounds out the field.
The Fifth Avenue Mile race records stand at 3:47.52 for men, set by Sydney
Maree in 1981, and 4:16.68, for women, run by PattiSue Plumer in 1990. The
Fifth Avenue Mile runs 5,280 feet down a 20-block stretch of Fifth Avenue in
the heart of Manhattan, adjacent to Central Park. It is the world's largest
road mile, boasting 7313 entrants in 2012.