On Saturday, the 32nd annual Fifth Avenue Mile Presented by Nissan will kick off at 8:45 a.m. with the wheelchair/handcycle division, followed by a morning’s worth of age-group and specialty races that feature almost 7,000 runners racing on one of the most famous avenues in the world.
Headlining the event will be the women’s and men’s professional miles at 12:45 p.m. and 1:00 p.m., respectively. In the pro races, 15 men and 13 women will vie for $60,000 in prize money, with the top man and woman each taking home $5,000.
Leading the men’s field are defending champion Bernard Lagat, a two-time Olympic medalist and a 2007 double World Champion; Leo Manzano, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist at 1500 meters; and Matthew Centrowitz, the 2011 IAAF World Championships bronze medalist at 1500 meters. All represent the United States.
The women are headlined by defending champion Jenny Simpson, a two-time U.S. Olympian and the 2011 IAAF World Champion at 1500 meters; Shannon Rowbury, a two-time Fifth Avenue Mile champion, two-time U.S. Olympian, and the 2009 IAAF World Championships bronze medalist at 1500 meters; and Hannah England of Great Britain, the 2011 IAAF World Championships silver medalist behind Simpson at 1500 meters.
Challenging for the women will be Brenda Martinez of the United States, whose personal-best 4:26.76 to win the Falmouth Mile last month ranks as the fastest in the world this year. Last week, Martinez won the Bupa Great North 1 Mile Run at the Great North CityGames in 4:34.99 over many of the women she will face on Saturday, including Simpson, Rowbury, and England.
A 2012 graduate of the University of California-Riverside, the 25-year-old Martinez was the 2009 NCAA Championships runner-up at 1500 meters and this winter won the U.S. Open mile in Madison Square Garden.
The complete pro roster as of September 20, subject to change:
“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