Fast Feet on Fifth Avenue

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    2016 Fifth Avenue Mile Winners Eric Jenkins and Jenny Simpson. Image courtesy of New York Road Runners.

    The Fifth Avenue Mile had its 36th run this past Saturday in Manhattan, supported by new sponsor New Balance. Currently organized by the New York Road Runners, the race saw just over 6,000 runners fly down Fifth Avenue, beginning at East 80th Street and ending at East 60th Street. For both the men and women, 2016 was an exceptionally fast year.

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    Image courtesy: New York Road Runners 

    Portland’s Eric Jenkins took the overall crown, running a 3:49.4, just edging out Matthew Centrowitz, the Men’s 1500m champ in Rio, who ran a 3:49.5. Jenkins’ winning time is the closest any runner has come to toppling American Syndee Maree’s course record of 3:47.52, run in 1981, since Englishman Peter Elliot ran a 3:47.83 in 1990. According to the official race report, Centrowitz held the lead at 1500m but was passed by Jenkins in the final 100. Jenkins, 24, did not represent the US at Rio but by edging out an Olympic champ becomes one to watch for 2020.

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    Image courtesy: New York Road Runners

    On the women’s side, 2016 Rio bronze medalist in the Women’s 1500m Jennifer Simpson continued to make her case that organizers may as well rename the event the “Jenny Simpson Mile.” Simpson ran a 4:18.3 to clinch her fourth consecutive win and her fifth course victory in the past six years. Simpson outkicked Glasgow’s Laura Muir, who led at the halfway point, and finished with an impressive 4:18.4. Simpson’s 4:18.3 is her best result at this particular race and the second fastest winning time among the women in the race’s history, placing her just off Patti Sue Plumer’s course record of 4:16.68, run in 1990.

    Rio alum Charles Philibert-Thiboutot led the Canadian contingent, running a 3:52.5 to finish fifth overall. This writer would also be remiss to not mention Michelle Clarke (aka @runningchic) – that’s my coach! – finishing second in her age group with a 5:28.

    See the full results and race report at nyrr.org.

    -Ravi Singh