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There was a strong likelihood that Jenny Simpson was going to win the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile on September 9, mostly because she’d already won the race six times, the last five of which were consecutive. Even so, Simpson’s anticipated sprint down the famous mile-long stretch on New York City’s Fifth Avenue—intended as both a serious race and a celebratory end to her successful 2018 season—was not guaranteed, as the professional field for this year’s race included athletes like Colleen Quigley (who won the Wanamaker Mile at the New York Road Runners Millrose Games earlier this year), Emma Coburn, Sara Vaughn, Dominique Scott and several other serious contenders.
After all 22 heats raced to the finish line on Sunday, a total of 7,704 runners had completed the race, 19 of whom were Olympians competing in the professional heats. While the rainy weather got in the way of Simpson’s attempt to set a new women’s course record, she still finished in 4:18.8, the 10th fastest time clocked in the race’s 38 years. Colleen Quigley placed second in 4.19.2 (a new personal best for her), and Melissa Courtney of Great Britain finished third in 4:20.2. In the professional men’s race, Jake Wightman of Great Britain secured his first 5th Avenue Mile victory in 3:53.5, followed closely by four-time defending champion Nick Willis of New Zealand (3:54.2) and Neil Gourley of Great Britain (3:55.3).
“I love that this race is American-made right down 5th Avenue, and I love that where I’m best known is here at home,” Simpson said in an official press release. “Being a seven-time winner is very special to me.”