Where Your Dreams Become Reality
Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile
New York, September 20, 2007—American record holder Alan Webb will look to add more honors to an already stellar track season as he tops the field of the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile on Saturday, September 29, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.
Joining Webb in the famed one-mile road race down Fifth Avenue will be defending men’s champion Kevin Sullivan of Canada and Commonwealth Games gold medalist Nick Willis of New Zealand. Sara Hall of Big Bear Lake, CA, the 2006 women’s champion, will defend her title.
“Alan comes into the mile off one unbelievable season,” Wittenberg said. “Is this his chance for a victory lap through the streets of New York City and a celebration of a breakthrough year? Certainly Sullivan, Willis, and the field aren’t going to hand it to him.”
Webb, 24, is coming off a sizzling summer European track season where, on July 21 in Brasschaat, Belgium, he ran 3:46.91 to better Steve Scott’s 25-year-old American mile record of 3:47.69. Webb’s time puts him eighth on the all-time mile list. Prior to that, on July 6, Webb defeated a star-studded international field at the Meeting Gaz de France in Paris to win the 1500 meters in 3:30.54. Webb will be looking for a solid finish to a year in which he finished eighth in the 1500 meters at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Osaka, Japan.
“I am very excited about returning to New York to run the Fifth Avenue Mile,” said Webb, who made his only other appearance in the race in 2005 when he was second to Australian Craig Mottram. “This will be my last race of the season, so I want to end on a high note.”
Sullivan, 33, will return to New York in defense of his 2006 title, which he won with a time of 3:54.1. The fifth-place finisher in the 1500 meters at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Sullivan set the Canadian record in the indoor 3000 meters early this spring in 7:40.17. He has a one-mile personal best of 3:50.26, which he ran in 2000.
Hall, 24, posted a 4:28.0 in 2006 to earn her first victory in the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile. Her 2007 season was highlighted by a pair of runner-up finishes in New York: in the mile at the New Balance Games in January and in the 3000 meters at the Millrose Games in February. In June, she established a personal best of 4:08.99 in the 1500-meter distance at the U.S. Outdoor Championships in Indianapolis.
Willis, 24, was the gold medalist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in the 1500 meters. A three-time NCAA champion for the University of Michigan, he recently placed tenth in the 1500 meters at the World Championships in Osaka with a time of 3:36.13. Willis’ personal best for the mile is 3:52.75, a record he set in Wanganui, New Zealand, in 2006.
The race down the world-famous thoroughfare begins near East 80th Street and finishes one mile south at East 60th Street. The wheelchair and handcycle race will kick off the event at 9:00 a.m. After that, entrants will run in heats according to age and gender. The professional women’s race is scheduled to start at 12:45 p.m., followed by the professional men’s race at 1:05 p.m.
This year’s title sponsor, Continental Airlines, will award a total of 300,000 OnePass miles (75,000 each to the male and female NYRR Road Mile champions and the male and female winners of the professional races). Reebok, the presenting sponsor, will provide prizes for the top three finishers in each age group.
JUST THE FACTS
New York Road Runners
New York Road Runners, soon to celebrate its 50th anniversary, is dedicated to promoting the sport of distance running, enhancing health and fitness for all, and responding to community needs. Our road races and other fitness programs draw upwards of 300,000 runners annually, and together with our magazine and website support and promote professional and recreational running. A staff of more than 100, assisted by thousands of volunteers, stages the ING New York City Marathon, as well as a road race nearly every weekend plus many track and cross country events. NYRR’s home base in New York, and its lifelong identification with Central Park , have given many of its events iconic status, attracting the world’s top professional runners. Our youth programs provide running to 30,000 schoolchildren in New York City and around the country who would otherwise have few or no fitness opportunities. For more information, visit www.nyrr.org.
Continental Airlines is the world’s fifth-largest airline. Continental, together with Continental Express and Continental Connection, has more than 3,100 daily departures throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia, serving 144 domestic and 138 international destinations. More than 400 additional points are served via SkyTeam alliance airlines. With more than 45,000 employees, Continental has hubs serving New York, Houston, Cleveland, and Guam, and together with Continental Express, carries approximately 67 million passengers per year. Continental consistently earns awards and critical acclaim for both its operation and its corporate culture. For more company information, visit www.continental.com.
Reebok International Ltd., headquartered in Canton, MA, is a leading worldwide designer, marketer, and distributor of sports, fitness, and casual footwear, apparel, and equipment. A subsidiary of the adidas Group, the company operates under the multiple divisions of the Reebok brand, Reebok-CCM Hockey and the Sports Licensed Division. For more information, visit Reebok at www.rbk.com.