NEW YORK CITY, September 11 — For the second year in a row, a pair of Scottish runners topped the podium at the Fifth Avenue Mile. Jake Wightman defended his men’s title (and won for the third time overall), while Laura Muir succeeded last year’s women’s champion, Jemma Reekie, and set an event record in the process.
And they did it in challenging conditions that made them feel right at home. “It’s about blocking it out,” Wightman said after clocking 3:49.6 on a slick roadway during steady rainfall. “We run in enough bad weather in the UK to be used to it.”
The women went off first, with Muir, Reekie, Nikki Hiltz and Heather MacLean leading a bunched-up pack. There was little excitement until halfway, in when Muir bolted to the front — presumably to pocket a $1000 bonus for the halfway leader But instead, she hit the gas full throttle and caught the field off guard.
In a matter of seconds she had a 20-meter lead. The chase group, led by Hiltz and Eleanor Fulton, attempted to close the gap, but there was just too much work to do. Muir held on and hit the tape in 4:14.8, fastest-ever for this 20-block tour down Manhattan’s East Side.
“My coach said to me before that quite a lot of people surge at the 800-meter point, and we thought we could do a double surge and keep going,” said an exhausted Muir. “That last 100m was hard, but this is my last race of the season and [I just told myself] all you gotta do is just run 200m, 100m, just get to that line. That definitely helped. It hurt, but I’m so pleased with the win.”
Hiltz (4:17.4) took the runner-up spot, followed by Fulton (4:18.0), Reekie (4:18.3) and Adelle Tracey (4:19.2) as eight women broke 4:20.
The men’s race started in chaos as Josh Kerr immediately slipped and went to the ground. He rallied to rejoin the pack and ran alongside Wightman for most of the race. (A smiling Sam Parsons surged into the front briefly to take the halfway leader bonus, which he was able to pocket after finishing 11th in 3:52.9.) Joe Klecker, Jake Heyward, Will Paulson and Cole Hocker all positioned themselves near the front, but Wightman remained the focal point.
Coming off a spectacular season that saw him win the world title in the 1500 in Eugene, he combined his surging confidence with his experience on this tricky course that concludes with a downhill final half.
“All the advice I’ve ever had [about this race] and my own advice is, you can never leave it too late here,” said Wightman, who had finished 3rd in the 800 at the Diamond League final three days earlier. “I feel like patience is the biggest key. I didn’t leave it too late because I won, but there were points where I felt like I never quite pulled away the same way [as in the past].”
Heyward made up ground in the final 100, but had to settle for 2nd in 3:49.9. Sam Prakel (3:50.4) came up for 3rd, followed by Paulson and Hocker, both timed in 3:50.7.
5TH AVENUE MILE
New York, New York, September 11—
1. Jake Wightman (GB) 3:50; 2. Jake Heyward (GB) 3:50; 3. Sam Prakel (US) 3:51; 4. Will Paulson (Can) 3:51; 5. Cole Hocker (US) 3:51; 6. Geordie Beamish (NZ) 3:51; 7. Matt Stonier (GB) 3:52; 8. Luis Grijalva (Gua) 3:52; 9. Paul Ryan (US) 3:52; 10. Josh Kerr (GB) 3:52;
11. Sam Parsons (Ger) 3:53; 12. Joe Klecker (US) 3:53; 13. Jye Edwards (Aus) 3:54; 14. Johnny Gregorek (US) 3:54; 15. Eric Holt (US) 3:55; 16. Andrew Coscoran (Ire) 3:55; 17. Eric Avila (US) 3:55; 18. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot (Can) 3:57; 19. Josh Thompson (US) 3:58; 20. Craig Engels (US) 3:58; 21. Adel Mechaal (Spa) 4:00.
5TH AVENUE WOMEN
1. Laura Muir (GB) 4:15 (MR); 2. Nikki Hiltz (US) 4:18; 3. Eleanor Fulton (US) 4:18; 4. Jemma Reekie (GB) 4:19; 5. Adelle Tracey (Jam) 4:20; 6. Nozomi Tanaka (Jpn) 4:20; 7. Sage Hurta (US) 4:20; 8. Helen Schlachtenhaufen (US) 4:20; 9. Melissa Courtney-Bryant (GB) 4:21; 10. Lizzie Bird (GB) 4:22;
11. Emma Coburn (US) 4:23; 12. Cory McGee (US) 4:24; 13. Ellie Baker (GB) 4:25; 14. Sinclaire Johnson (US) 4:25; 15. Allie Wilson (US) 4:25; 16. Heather MacLean (US) 4:26; 17. Ciara Mageean (Ire) 4:30; 18. Hannah Nuttall (GB) 4:30; 19. Susan Ejore (Ken) 4:38; 20. Mariana Borelli (Arg) 4:41. ◻︎