World Champion Jenny Simpson Running 2011 Fifth Avenue Mile

By: New York Road Runners
September 14, 2011

Bernard Lagat returns to chase his first Fifth Avenue Mile crown against strong men’s field at 31st edition of iconic road mile on September 24

World Championships medalists Hannah England, Sally Kipyego and two-time defending Fifth Avenue Mile champion Shannon Rowbury in women’s field

Men’s and women’s fields to feature eight Olympians and four 2011 World Championships medalists

New York, September 14, 2011— Just weeks after her stunning 1500-meter victory at the World Championships, Jenny Simpson of the United States will conclude her “victory lap” tour by running the Fifth Avenue Mile on Saturday, September 24, it was announced today by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.

Simpson became the first American woman to win the 1500-meter world title since Mary Decker in 1983 with her surprising victory at the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, earlier this month. The win capped a spectacular comeback for Simpson, who was slowed last year by a stress fracture and earlier this year by flu-like symptoms.

“After winning a World Championship medal, I can’t think of a more American place to return than New York City,” said Simpson, 25, of Monument, CO, who is the national record-holder in the 3000-meter steeplechase. “I want to share the excitement of my season with everyone who had touched my career in a positive way. The Fifth Avenue Mile’s spirit of community running and celebration will be the perfect stage for me to complete my season. I’m so excited to be a part of it!” 

World Championships silver medalists Sally Kipyego, 25, of Kenya (10,000 meters) and Hannah England, 24, of Great Britain (1500 meters), two-time defending champion and 2009 World Championships 1500-meter bronze medalist Shannon Rowbury, 26, of the USA, and USA 800-meter champion Alysia Montano, 25, are sure to give Simpson lots of competition in the 31st edition of the road mile. 

“It has been a breakout season for Jenny, and a strong performance here in the most  famous city mile in the world against a glittering lineup of rivals would put an exclamation point on her year,” said Wittenberg.

Two-time Olympic medalist and multiple World Championships medal winner Bernard Lagat of the United States will continue his quest to add this crown to his glittering trophy case against a stellar field featuring  defending champion Amine Laalou of Morocco and reigning U.S. 800-meter champion Nick Symmonds.

Lagat, of Tucson, AZ, finished second in 2010 and 2008 and was fourth in 2009 in the race down one of the most famous thoroughfares in the world.

“I said I’m coming until I win it, so this year I’m going to win it and will be prepared for that,” said Lagat, 36, who took the silver medal at the World Championships 5000 meters this month. “I’m going to be tough to beat in New York.”

Lagat is the American record-holder in the 1500, 3000, and 5000 meters outdoors, an eight-time Wanamaker Mile winner at the Millrose Games, and a four-time medalist at the World Championships, including a double victory at 1500 and 5000 meters in 2007. He was also a two-time Olympic medalist at 1500 meters while running for his native Kenya, earning the silver in 2004 and the bronze in 2000. Lagat has had a successful 2011, including breaking the 21-year-old U.S. indoor record in the 2-mile run; he also holds the American indoor records at 1500 meters, 1 mile, and 3000 meters.

Laalou, 29, of Morocco, won the Fifth Avenue Mile in 2010 in a time of 3 minutes and 50.83 seconds. He finished fifth in the 2009 World Championship 800 meters and won the 1500 meters at the 2010 IAAF Continental Cup.

Other top entrants in the field.

·         Symmonds, 27, of Eugene, OR, is the reigning and four-time U.S. 800-meter champion. He recently placed fifth at that distance at the 2011 World Championships.

·         Ingvill Måkestad Bovim, 30, of Norway, placed sixth at the World Championships and fifth at the 2011 European Indoor Championships, both at 1500 meters.

·         Anthony Famiglietti, 32, of Davidson, NC, is a two-time Olympian in the 3000-meter steeplechase and a versatile middle- to long-distance runner with a range from 1500 meters to the half-marathon. He has run 3:55.71 for the mile. He has seen limited competitive action in 2010 and 2011.

The Fifth Avenue Mile begins near East 80th Street and finishes 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 12:50 p.m., followed by the professional men’s race at 1:05 p.m. A total prize purse of  $30,000 for the men’s and women’s professional races will be offered, with the two winners finishers each receiving $5,000.

New York Road Runners

Headquartered in New York City, New York Road Runners is dedicated to advancing the sport of running, enhancing health and fitness for all, and meeting our community’s needs. Our goal is to use the expertise acquired in our 52-year history to empower all people to live fitter, healthier lives through participation in our races, community events, instruction and training resources, and youth programs. Our races and other events draw more than 300,000 people each year. The ING New York City Marathon, NYRR’s premier event, is the largest and most inclusive marathon in the world, attracting the world’s top professional runners every year and raising nearly $25 million for charity in 2009. NYRR’s running-based youth programs, which currently serve more than 100,000 children in hundreds of schools and community centers, promote children’s health and fitness, character development, and personal achievement in underserved communities. For more information, visit www.nyrr.org.

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