Jordan McNamara Edges Garrett Heath In Photo Finish at Line, Wins 1st Fifth Avenue Mile Title

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

NEW YORK (13-Sep) — Americans swept the top spots here at the 34th annual NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile, as Jenny Simpson claimed her third title in four years and Jordan McNamara won his first crown here on the streets of Manhattan. It was the eighth time in event history that a pair of Americans broke the tape first

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A pair of races played out on the men’s side, one midway through and one at the finish. Bursting from the start was Will Leer and Lawi Lalang, establishing themselves at the head of the sixteen-man field. Hours before the race, a number of athletes had joked around about who would be the one to push the pace and go for the $1,000 prime at halfway (given to the leader as long as they break 4:00 at the finish). Immediately it was apparent that Leer and Lalang’s eyes were on the prize.

“Dangle the carrot and someone’s going to bite,” Leer told Race Results Weekly. “Unfortunately there were two of us there trying to eat the same food. We went for it, absolutely.”

Jordan McNamara Wins! (Courtesy NYRR) Jordan McNamara Wins! (Courtesy NYRR)

Passing the quarter mile in 57 seconds, the pair would steadily gain a five meter gap on the field, ultimately hitting halfway in approximately 1:56. At that very instant Leer made a slight lean to nip Lalang for the rights to $1,000. Subsequently, both athletes slowed the pace and re-joined the field.

The next major move came with 400 meters to go, when last year’s third place finisher Garrett Heath injected a surge that seemed to catch the rest of the field off guard.

Powering his way towards the finish, Heath was trailed by Ireland’s Paul Robinson and Kenya’s Augustine Choge. Doing all he could to maintain form, Heath kept his eyes forward and hoped for the best.

“I think my strength is just pushing from a long ways out and making it a long, hard surge,” said Heath. “I made them work for it… I couldn’t tell where anybody was though.”

While Heath kept his form in the middle of the roadway, on the far right-hand side was Jordan McNamara, a mile ace who claimed this year’s GNC Live Well Liberty Mile in Pittsburgh. About five meters from the line, McNamara pulled up and matched Heath stride for stride.

With his left arm reached skyward pointing the number one, McNamara leaned and took the win in 3:51.0. Heath recorded the same time for second, with Robinson third in 3:51.1. Choge, fourth, finish a tenth of a second later in 3:51.2.

“I was just hanging on for the first 800m it was so fast, and I knew the last 800m would go around 1:52 so I just told myself to stay in position,” McNamara told Race Results Weekly, sporting the Oregon Track Club vest. “I saw with 400 to go that people were starting to come back and I got excited a little bit.

“I thought I was second place until the last three steps,” McNamara continued with a sly smile. “To cross first against a great field, it’s a real privilege.”

McNamara joins a list of notable American winners that include Steve Scott, Bernard Lagat, and Matthew Centrowitz. Centrowitz, 24, wound up sixth today in 3:52.4

“I hope it just solidifies my place in American distance running and I hope people really take me seriously because I’ve got my eyes on [the Olympics in] 2016,” said McNamara.

Early leaders Lalang and Leer wound up ninth and 12th, 3:53.9 and 3:55.9 their times. Because Leer finished in under 4:00, he earned the coveted $1,000 halfway bonus.

Fifteen of the sixteen man field finished under 4:00, nine of whom were under 3:54.

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

Photo Gallery:



Fifth Avenue Mile Professional Men
Pl. Bib First Last Age City State Country Affiliation Time
1 26 Jordan McNamara 27 Eugene OR United States Nike Oregon Track Club 3:51.0
2 25 Garrett Heath 28 Seattle WA United States Brooks 3:51.0
3 28 Paul Robinson 23 Kildare Ireland Nike 3:51.1
4 24 Augustine Choge 27 Eldoret Kenya Adidas 3:51.2
5 30 Ryan Hill 24 Portland OR United States Nike 3:52.3
6 22 Matthew Centrowitz 24 Portland OR United States Nike 3:52.4
7 33 Daniel Huling 31 Portland OR United States Nike 3:52.9
8 31 Kyle Merber 23 Huntington Station NY United States Hoka One One 3:53.5
9 27 Lawi Lalang 23 Tucson AZ Kenya Nike 3:53.9
10 32 Ciaran O’Lionaird 26 Eugene OR Ireland Nike Oregon Track Club 3:54.3
11 29 David Torrence 28 Oakland CA United States Nike 3:55.4
12 23 Will Leer 29 Marina Del Rey CA United States Nike 3:55.9
13 36 Andy Bayer 24 Portland OR United States Nike 3:56.9
14 37 German Fernandez 23 Portland OR United States Nike 3:57.5
15 35 Ben Blankenship 25 Eugene OR United States Nike Oregon Track Club 3:57.8
16 34 Michael Rutt 26 Plainsboro NJ United States Hoka One One 4:03.
NYRR Road Mile Championships Men
Pl. Bib First Last Age City State Country Affiliation Time
1 57 Siraw Kebede Gelaw 28 New York NY United States West Side Runners 4:05.3
2 54 Abdi Ali Gelchu 17 New York NY Bahrain West Side Runners 4:05.6
3 40 Harbert Okuti 28 High Falls NY Uganda Westchester TC 4:07.4
4 41 Abiyot Endale 28 Bronx NY United States Westchester TC 4:07.5
5 45 Adam Booray 24 High Falls NY Sudan Westchester TC 4:08.0
6 56 Joseph Gentsch 25 Staten Island NY United States Westchester TC 4:08.3
7 42 Trevor Van Ackeren 25 Bethlehem PA United States NJ-NY Track Club 4:10.9
8 64 Sean Mallon 24 Feasterville Trevose PA United States 4:13.3
9 61 Baisa Moleta 25 Alexandria VA United States West Side Runners 4:13.4
10 47 Jason Simpson 28 Boulder CO United States 4:14.7
11 46 Michael Cunningham 24 New York NY United States New York Athletic Club 4:15.5
12 51 Christopher Bendtsen 22 Wolcott CT United States New York Athletic Club 4:17.3
13 44 Abu Kebede Diriba 27 New York NY Ethiopia West Side Runners 4:19.1
14 52 Tariku Abosete Bokan 33 New York NY Ethiopia West Side Runners 4:20.7
15 48 Jeffrey Weinstein 25 New York NY United States New York Athletic Club 4:20.8
16 50 Luke Arbuckle 22 Elkton MD United States 4:23.3
17 59 Fikadu Lemma 30 Bronx NY Ethiopia West Side Runners 4:26.9
18 63 Sergio Soto 25 Ozone Park NY Bolivia CPTC New Balance 4:28.3

Women’s Race:  Jenny Simpson Holds Off Brenda Martinez to Become First-Ever 3-Time 5th Avenue Mile Champ

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