Jenny Simpson Holds Off Brenda Martinez to Become First-Ever 3-Time 5th Avenue Mile Champ

By Chris Lotsbom, @ChrisLotsbom. Additional adds by
(c) 2014 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

American Jenny Simpson came into today’s NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile knowing that a win would guarantee her place in history, for no woman had ever claimed more than two titles. From the time she lined up near the Metropolitan Museum of Art until the moment she broke the tape in Grand Army Plaza, a resolute stare never left the 28-year-old’s face.

Leading wire to wire, Simpson would break the finish tape in 4:19.4, securing her third title and the $5,000 first place prize.

“Every race I get nervous, every race I know that there are people who are raising the bar and raising the level,” said Simpson, clutching an American flag. “I just feel really fortunate. This year went so well, I don’t want to take it for granted.”

As soon as the gun sounded, Simpson bolted to the front just as she did in her winning run twelve months ago. Under orders from Alberto Salazar, the Nike Oregon Project trio of Mary Cain, Jordan Hasay, and Treniere Moser tucked in directly behind.

“I just sat on her and I felt good,” said Hasay, who trailed Simpson by a step at the quarter mile mark, reached in 62 seconds. “It’s just an honor to be out there with her.”

That's a New Balance 1-2. (Photo courtesy of NYRR) That’s a New Balance 1-2. (Photo courtesy of NYRR) (click for photo gallery)

Charging up the slight hill to the midway point, Simpson still had the gritty determined look on her face, appearing strong and in control. She’d take home the $1,000 premium for leading at halfway.

Sticking to her pre-race strategy and not letting anyone come up on her shoulder, Simpson passed the three-quarters mark in 3:17. While in the lead, she used the crowd’s cheers to gauge how close her competitors were.

With 300 meters to go, fellow New Balance athletes Brenda Martinez –the 2012 champion– and Ireland’s Ciara Mageean were beginning their kicks and had momentum on their side, closing the gap ever so slightly.

However, the day belonged to Simpson, matching her competitors sprint with a kick of her own. She’d cross the line first in 4:19.4, followed closely by Martinez (4:19.6) and Mageean (4:21.2). American Heather Kampf and Norway’s Ingvill Makestad Bovim rounded out the top five in 4:21.4 and 4:21.9, respectively. A record 14 women broke 4:30.

“I really knew to save one final big push for that last two blocks and I’m just so grateful it was enough to win it,” said a smiling Simpson. “I don’t know if I’ll ever use that strategy again because it’s just so hard to run that way [from the front].”

The moment Simpson reached the finish line, her season had come to a close. Up next is 14 days of no running at all. Next year, Simpson said she plans on returning to defend her win and go for title number four.

“I’ll try to win fifteen years in a row if I can!” Simpson joked with one reporter. “It’s great to be on top and doing well, but it’s especially fun to win this race.”

Though they didn’t win, both Martinez and Mageean were proud of how they fought all the way through the finish.

“I’m absolutely over the moon,” said a glowing Mageean who had struggled with injuries the last two seasons. “Returning home feeling quite happy and very proud to have the tri-colored flag flying up there in the Fifth Avenue Mile. I hope we did our country proud out here today.”

Other notable finishers included Morgan Uceny in sixth (4:22.0), Hannah England in seventh (4:23.1), and Mary Cain in tenth (4:25.5). Cain did not speak to the media following her race, although she cheered home the children’s which followed the professionals and then did a workout at the Central Park Reservoir with her coach, Alberto Salazar.

In her final race as a professional, Canada’s Diane Cummins, 40, placed 18th in 4:40.2.

A full race video and results appear below. Discuss this race in the Forum: 2014 Fifth Avenue Mile Official Discussion Thread – Jordan McNamara and Jenny Simpson win! .

Race Video

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Photo Gallery:



Fifth Avenue Mile Professional Women
Pl. Bib First Last Age City State Country Affiliation Time
1 1 Jenny Simpson 28 Boulder CO United States New Balance 4:19.4
2 3 Brenda Martinez 27 Big Bear CA United States New Balance 4:19.6
3 15 Ciara Mageean 22 Dublin Ireland New Balance 4:21.2
4 10 Heather Kampf 27 Minneapolis MN United States Asics 4:21.4
5 11 Ingvill Makestad Bovim 33 Oslo Norway Adidas 4:21.9
6 6 Morgan Uceny 29 Watertown MA United States Adidas 4:22.0
7 8 Hannah England 27 Birmingham Great Britain Nike 4:23.1
8 21 Jordan Hasay 22 Portland OR United States Nike 4:23.9
9 4 Treniere Moser 32 Portland OR United States Nike 4:24.3
10 2 Mary Cain 18 Bronxville NY United States Nike 4:25.5
11 7 Laura Weightman 23 Leeds Great Britain Nike 4:26.9
12 12 Sarah Brown 27 Solana Beach CA United States New Balance 4:28.3
13 9 Violah Lagat 25 Colorado Springs CO Kenya Adidas 4:29.3
14 5 Sally Kipyego 28 Eugene OR Kenya Nike Oregon Track Club 4:29.4
15 14 Brie Felnagle 27 Tacoma WA United States Adidas 4:31.1
16 20 Beverly Ramos 27 San Juan PR Puerto Rico New Balance 4:33.6
17 18 Gesa Krause 22 Dillenburg Germany Nike 4:35.6
18 19 Diane Cummins 40 Missoula MT Canada 4:40.2


NYRR Road Mile Championships Women
Pl. Bib First Last Age City State Country Affiliation Time
1 71 Ariann Neutts 23 Succasunna NJ United States 4:43.8
2 73 Grace Kahura 21 High Falls NY United States Westchester TC 4:48.2
3 72 Catherine Beck 28 Newark NJ Kenya CPTC New Balance 4:49.6
4 75 Kathryn McManus 39 Mamaroneck NY United States New York Athletic Club 4:50.8
5 76 Lesley Higgins 34 New York NY United States New York Athletic Club 4:57.5
6 74 Caroline Williams 22 New York NY United States New York Athletic Club 4:58.1
7 78 Ivette Ramirez 24 New York NY United States CPTC New Balance 4:59.2
8 70 Stephanie Herrick 27 New York NY United States CPTC New Balance 5:02.8
9 77 Andrea Bradshaw 26 New York NY United States CPTC New Balance 5:11.4
10 80 Shari Klarfeld 33 Plainview NY United States New York Harriers 5:26.8

Men’s Race Recap: Jordan McNamara Edges Garrett Heath In Photo Finish at Line, Wins 1st Fifth Avenue Mile Title

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