Among the pro athletes announced today for the 33rd NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile Presented by Nissan on September 22 are three Olympic medalists, two World Champions, six national record-holders, two who have topped the world rankings, an Olympic flag-bearer, a brother-sister duo, and a couple that recently became engaged to be married.
Leading the men’s field are Americans Bernard Lagat, a two-time Olympic medalist, 2007 IAAF World Champion at 1500 meters and 5000 meters, and holder of eight U.S. records; Leo Manzano, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist at 1500 meters; Nick Symmonds, the 2013 World Championships silver medalist at 800 meters; Lopez Lomong, the flagbearer at the 2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony and the fastest U.S. miler (3:51.45) so far in 2013; and Evan Jager, the U.S. record-holder in the 3000-meter steeplechase; as well as New Zealand’s Nick Willis, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist at 1500 meters.
Lagat (2011) and Willis (2008) are past champions in the event.
The top women include Americans Shannon Rowbury, the 2009 World Championships bronze medalist at 1500 meters; Jenny Simpson, the 2011 World Champion and 2013 World Championships silver medalist at 1500 meters; and Morgan Uceny, ranked No. 1 in the world at the distance in 2011. They are joined by Hannah England of Great Britain, the 2011 World Championships silver medalist at 1500 meters, and Kenya’s Susan Kuijken, a two-time NCAA Champion.
Rowbury won the event in 2009 and 2010. In 2008, she ran the third-fastest time in the event’s history, 4:19.20, when she finished second to Great Britain’s Lisa Dobriskey. Simpson won the Fifth Avenue Mile in 2011.
The Fifth Avenue Mile starts near East 80th Street and finishes at East 60th Street. Age-group races will begin at 8:45 a.m., followed by the women’s pro race at 12:45 p.m. and the men’s pro race at 1 p.m.
At least four of the professional runners this year will have a rooting interest in both the men’s and women’s races. Lagat’s 24-year old sister, Violah, will compete in the women’s race, and Rowbury’s fiancé, Pablo Solares, will run for the men. Violah Lagat, a first-year pro, was eighth at 1500 meters in the 2012 NCAA Championships; Solares is Mexico’s national record-holder at the distance.
Willis (3:32.57) and Simpson (4:00.48) have the fastest 1500-meter times in 2013 in the fields.
Both the men and the women will be chasing course records that have stood for decades. The men’s mark of 3:47.52 was set by Sydney Maree of South Africa way back in 1981, the first year of the event, and the women’s record of 4:16.68 was set in 1990 by American Patti Sue Plumer.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg