Jenny Simpson Claims Record-Extending Eighth Title and Nick Willis Wins Record-Breaking Fifth Title at the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile

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Simpson breaks event record by clocking 4:16.1 to win by one tenth of a second over Elinor Purrier; Willis wins in photo-finish against Chris O’Hare and Sam Prakel


A record 9,191 participants raced across the 24 heats at the world’s most iconic road mile, including specialty heats including the Back to School Mile, FDNY/NYPD Mile and Rising New York Road Runners races

New York, September 8, 2019 – The United States’ Jenny Simpson won her record-extending eighth title in an event-record time and New Zealand’s Nick Willis won his record-breaking fifth title in a photo-finish at the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile on Sunday. In total, 9,274* runners raced across the day’s 24 heats, the most ever in the history of the event since it began 1981.

Simpson, an Olympic bronze medalist from Boulder, CO, clocked a 4:16.1 for her seventh consecutive and eighth overall victory. Her time bettered the previous event record of 4:16.6, which she shared with PattiSue Plummer. Her New Balance teammate, 24-year-old Elinor Purrier, took second in 4:16.2, with 24-year-old Rebecca Mehra completing the American sweep in 4:22.0 to finish third.

In the professional men’s race, Willis pushed past Great Britain’s Chris O’Hare and the United States’ Sam Prakel at the very last second to take the tape in 3:51.7, adding to his victories from 2008, 2013, 2015, and 2017. With his fifth win, Willis surpassed Isaac Viciosa of Spain for the most career wins on 5th Avenue. O’Hare clocked the same time as Willis in the photo-finish, with Prakel recording a 3:51.8.

The New Balance 5th Avenue Mile stretches 20 blocks down Manhattan’s most famous thoroughfare and also included specialty heats for youth and seniors. In 2019, NYRR is celebrating 20 years of providing free youth running programs, which now serve 250,000 kids around the country. To mark the occasion, the event’s first Back to School Mile took place shortly before the professional athlete races and was free and open to New York City’s Department of Education teachers and staff. Taking part was NYRR Team for Kids Ambassador Meb Keflezighi, the only person ever to win the New York City Marathon, Boston Marathon and an Olympic Marathon medal.

About New York Road Runners (NYRR)
NYRR’s mission is to help and inspire people through running. Since 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization. NYRR’s commitment to New York City’s five boroughs features races, community events, free youth running initiatives and school programs, the NYRR RUNCENTER featuring the New Balance Run Hub, and training resources that provide hundreds of thousands of people each year, from children to seniors, with the motivation, know-how, and opportunity to Run for Life. NYRR’s premier event, and the largest marathon in the world, is the TCS New York City Marathon. Held annually on the first Sunday in November, the race features 50,000 runners, from the world’s top professional athletes to a vast range of competitive, recreational, and charity runners.  To learn more, visit

*The total number of finishers was updated from the original number announced. 

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