September 3rd: Matt Centrowitz And Jenny Simpson Will Lead Deep American Fields At The NYRR 5th Avenue Mile

NYRR Press Release
August 29, 2016

New York — Fresh off of podium appearances at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, gold medalist Matthew Centrowitz and bronze medalists Jenny Simpson, Emma Coburn, and Clayton Murphy, will race New York City’s most prestigious thoroughfare on Saturday, September 3, when they compete in the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, it was announced today by New York Road Runners.

Eighteen Olympians will be in the professional athlete field – 16 of whom competed in the Rio 2016 Games – with two of those athletes having previously won the 5th Avenue Mile, including returning women’s champion Simpson, who with another victory would become the winningest athlete in 5th Avenue Mile history with five titles.

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“The New Balance 5th Avenue Mile field will be full of star power, with Jenny aiming to defend her title and become the most iconic athlete in the race’s history, and Matthew looking for another first-place finish after a dream Olympic trip to Rio,” said Peter Ciaccia, president of events for New York Road Runners and race director of the TCS New York City Marathon. “This event will be a fantastic opportunity for these athletes to close out the tremendous seasons they’ve had, and fans everywhere will have the chance to watch them do so on”

Centrowitz, 26, of Portland, OR, won the 1500 meters at the Rio 2016 Olympics, closing his final lap in 50.62 seconds to take the gold medal. With the victory, he became the first American man to win the Olympic 1500 meters since 1908. Earlier this year, he won the NYRR Millrose Games Wanamaker Mile in a world-leading 3:50.53 and the 1500 meters at the IAAF World Indoor Championships. The 2012 5th Avenue Mile champion finished fourth in last year’s edition of the event.

“I’m very excited to head back to New York City, not only as the world indoor champion, but to be recognized now as an Olympic champion,” Centrowitz said. “New York City is always a second home to me. After winning the NYRR Wanamaker Mile – I was the first guy to win the double [both Wanamaker and Fifth Avenue Mile titles in the same year] a couple years ago – hopefully I can repeat and do that again.”

Simpson, 30, of Boulder, CO, is the only four-time women’s champion of the 5th Avenue Mile, having won the event each of the last three years, and is coming off a bronze-medal performance in the 1500 meters at the Rio 2016 Olympics. She is the first American woman in history to medal in that event at the Olympics. The New Balance athlete is also a two-time IAAF World Championship medalist over 1500 meters, and last month she finished first in the distance at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials to qualify for her third Olympic Games. Before shifting to the 1500 meters, Simpson was the American record-holder in the 3000-meter steeplechase, placing ninth in that event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

“There is a wave of unprecedented talent in the middle distances in this country, and the Olympic medal haul by our crew is a testament to that,” Simpson said. “I’ve always enjoyed celebrating the end of a hard fought season at the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile, and it has been fun returning many times as the defending champion. This year promises to be one I’ll never forget, as I return to the race as an Olympic medalist. The New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile will host a number of our country’s medalists this year, and so it’s going to be a stellar field I have to face. But what a great opportunity for athletes and fans to show off and celebrate this year’s Olympic success with a final mile right through the heart of NYC.”

Additional Top Men’s Professional Runner Backgrounds and Notable Performances

  • Robby Andrews, 25, of Manalapan, NJ, qualified for his first U.S. Olympic team this summer in Rio, where he made the semifinals of the 1500 meters. Previously, he won the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Championships 800m and anchored the USA’s 4×800-meter relay team to victory at the 2015 IAAF World Relays.
  • Leo Manzano, 31, of Austin, TX, will race the 5th Avenue Mile for the fifth time; he has finished third twice. In 2012, Manzano became the first American to medal in the 1500 meters at the Olympics since Jim Ryun’s silver medal at the 1968 Games in Mexico City. He was fourth in the 1500 meters at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, ending his 10-year streak of finishing in the top three in that event at the national championships.
  • Clayton Murphy, 21, of New Paris, OH, ran a personal-best 1:44.76 to win the U.S. Olympic Trials 800 meters this year, moving from sixth place to first over the final 200 meters. He set another personal best in Rio, running 1:42.93 to earn the bronze medal and become the third-fastest American in history.

Additional Top Women’s Professional Runner Backgrounds and Notable Performances

  • Emma Coburn, 25, of Boulder, CO, is training partners with Simpson and made history at the Rio 2016 Olympics by bringing home the first American medal ever in the women’s 3000-meter steeplechase. She took bronze in 9:07.63, which broke her own American record.
  • Kate Grace, 27, of Sacramento, CA, will make her 5th Avenue Mile professional debut after placing eighth in the 800-meter final at the Olympics in Rio. The winner of the 2012 NYRR Road Mile Championships set new personal bests this year for 1500 meters indoors (4:06.75) and outdoors (4:05.65), as well as in the mile indoors (4:28.30). She also won the women’s 800 meters at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in July.
  • Emily Infeld, 26, of Portland, OR, is coming off her first Olympic appearance, having run a personal-best by nearly 12 seconds to finish in 11th place in the 10,000 meters. After missing most of 2014 due to injury, Infeld returned to racing in 2015 to take the bronze medal in the IAAF World Championships 10,000 meters. Her podium finish was the USA’s first in that event since Kara Goucher took third in 2007.
  • Laura Muir, 23, of Great Britain, was seventh in the 1500 meters at the Rio 2016 Olympics and broke her own British record in the distance last weekend by more than two seconds to win at the Diamond League meeting in Paris. It was the second time in five weeks she broke the national record.

Top Professional Men’s Runners

Name Personal-Best Mile Twitter Handle
Matthew Centrowitz, USA 3:50.63 @MattCentrowitz
Leo Manzano, USA 3:50.64 @Leomanzano
Nate Brannen, CAN 3:52.63 @natebrannen
Chris O’Hare, GBR 3:52.91 @chrisohare1500
Ben Blankenship, USA 3:53.13 @benfblankenship
Robby Andrews, USA 3:53.16 @RA_Andrews
Cory Leslie, USA 3:53.44 @cory_leslie
Jake Wightman, GBR 3:54.20 @JakeSWightman
Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, CAN 3:54.52 @charlespt
Kyle Merber, USA 3:54.76 @TheRealMerb
Colby Alexander, USA 3:54.94 @okaycolby
Johnny Gregorek, USA 3:55.57 @JohnnyGregorek
Riley Masters, USA 3:56.15 @riley_masters
Donn Cabral, USA 3:56.31 @DonnCabral
Ford Palmer, USA 3:56.58 @gofordpalmer
Daniel Winn, USA 3:56.73 @DanielWinn
Eric Jenkins, USA 3:57.09 @_EricJenkins
Clayton Murphy, USA 3:57.11 @Clayton_Murph
Mason Ferlic, USA 4:00.50 @masonferlic

Top Professional Women’s Runners

Name Personal-Best Mile Twitter Handle
Laura Muir, GBR 4:19.12 @lauramuiruns
Jenny Simpson, USA 4:22.18 @trackjenny
Lauren Johnson, USA 4:25.04 @JohnsonRunning
Katie Mackey, USA 4:25.48 @KatieFMackey
Amanda Eccleston, USA 4:25.64 @AmandaEcc
Heather Kampf, USA 4:27.23 @HeatherRaeKampf
Nicole Sifuentes, CAN 4:27.93 @ndsifuentes
Morgan Uceny, USA 4:27.99 @MUceny
Kate Grace, USA 4:28.30 @fastk8
Stephanie Garcia, USA 4:28.47 @steph_steeples
Rachel Schneider, USA 4:28.50 @rachschneid18
Cory McGee, USA 4:28.55 @CoryMcGeeRuns
Shelby Houlihan, USA 4:28.71 @shelbo800
Stephanie Brown, USA 4:29.06 @misspurplebrown
Nicole Tully, USA 4:29.78 @NicoleSchappert
Emma Coburn, USA 4:29.86 @emmajcoburn
Stephanie Schappert, USA 4:30.07 @stephschapp
Ashley Higginson, USA 4:30.16 @AshleyHigz
Hannah England, GBR 4:30.29 @hannengland
Shannon Osika, USA 4:30.62 @osikashannon
Emily Infeld, USA 4:31.50 @emily_infeld
Sara Vaughn, USA 4:34.29 @MomVaughn
Alison Leonard, GBR 4:38.37 @LENrun800
Eilish McColgan, GBR N/A @EilishMccolgan