“Jenny Simpson” and “5th Avenue Mile” have become somewhat synonymous terms over the last several years, and for good reason. On September 9, Simpson will again return to the 20-block stretch between 80th Street and Grand Army Plaza along Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue in an attempt to secure her seventh—and sixth consecutive—title. She might even try for a course record, too.
Simpson met the standing course record of 4:16.6 at last year’s event, a time that PattiSue Plummer set in 1990. After ending her 2017 season strong, it’s not too surprising that Simpson started 2018 in the same way. Her momentum on the track began early, with a win in the 3,000-meter at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in February. Three months later, she set a new outdoor 2-mile American record in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Drake Relays, and she set another PR for the mile (4:17.3) while racing on the track at the IAAF Diamond League Müller Anniversary Games in London.
“Winning the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile is never easy,” Simpson said in an official press release. “It seems like the bar is raised every year at a global level for women’s middle-distance running, as the talent and competitiveness continues to get stronger and stronger. So even with six wins under my belt, I’m approaching this year’s starting line ready to run as hard as I ever have in order to defend my title and hopefully clinch that seventh win. I like to remind myself that this is my final mile of the entire season and there’s nothing like going into the off-season by breaking the finish line tape.”
Though Simpson seems well-poised to end her official 2018 season with another win, she’ll face stiff competition in this year’s women’s field. Laura Weightman of Great Britain, who placed second last year, will return to challenge Simpson on the course, as will Simpson’s New Balance teammate Emma Coburn. American Colleen Quigley, who won the Wanamaker Mile at the New York Road Runners Millrose Games in February, will join the professional women’s field on Fifth Avenue, as will Sara Vaughn (USA), Dominique Scott (RSA), Katie Mackey (USA), Emily Lipari (USA) and several others. (Click here to view the race’s full women’s and men’s professional fields.)
Race day will begin at 7:25 a.m. EST on Sunday, Sept. 9, with the professional athletes racing at 12:10 p.m. EST. After welcoming 7,664 finishers in 2017, NYRR expects more than 7,000 runners to participate again this year. Those interested can watch live race coverage by tuning in to NBC, and anyone who wants to participate in the race from afar can register for the 2018 NYRR Virtual Racing Series and record their mileage virtually between September 1 and 9.