The Fastest Miles on Fifth: Comparing 39 Years of History

The first running of the Fifth Avenue Mile took place on September 26, 1981. Sydney Maree broke the finish-line tape in 3:47.52 to become the race's first-ever finisher, and since then, no one has ever run faster on the 20-block course.

While the men's record has stood steady for more than 13,800 days, the women's event record has changed hands a total of five times. To set the current record, PattiSue Plumer recorded a time of 4:16.68 in 1990, and it took 17 years until Jenny Simpson equaled that mark with a 4:16.6 in 2017.

As these records took place in three different decades, we decided to look into how things have changed—in the running world, in New York City, and beyond—in the time between those races. Here's what we found:

Want to break your personal record in the mile this year? Chase your best time at the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile on September 8 and follow in the footsteps of these world-class athletes.

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Ted Doyle

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