Mile News

American Middle-Distance Stars to Lead Blockbuster 5th Avenue Mile

September 04, 2014

Defending champion Simpson will battle local New York teenage phenom Cain; 2013 IAAF World Outdoor Championships 1500 meter silver medalist Centrowitz will attempt to reprise 2012 victory


NEW YORK—A trio of top American middle-distance runners—Jenny Simpson, Mary Cain and Matthew Centrowitz—will lead deep men’s and women’s professional fields at the NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile on Saturday, September 13, 2014, it was announced today by Mary Wittenberg, president and CEO of New York Road Runners. Simpson will attempt to become the first three-time winner of the women’s race and Centrowitz will try to repeat his 2012 victory. Cain, the 2014 World Junior champion at 3000 meters, will make her NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile and professional road race debut.

“The Mile is a very familiar distance in running and serves as the backdrop for one of NYRR’s most unique and celebrated events, the Fifth Avenue Mile,” said Wittenberg. “In a footrace from the Met to Grand Army Plaza, Jenny, Mary, Matthew, and the rest of the professional field will take center stage on one of the world’s most popular streets as they headline a celebration of running with thousands of others of all ages and abilities, from the kids in our youth Mile, to the seniors in the George Sheehan Memorial Mile.”

Simpson is one of the most decorated middle-distance athletes in American history. This summer, she lowered her 1500 personal best to 3:57.22 and captured the IAAF Diamond League series title in that event against the strongest competition in the world. In addition to Cain, Simpson will face 2012 Fifth Avenue Mile champion Brenda Martinez of the United States, 2014 European Championships and Commonwealth Games medalist Laura Weightman of Great Britain, 2011 World Championships silver medalist Hannah England of Great Britain, and Kenyan distance standout Sally Kipyego.

“A dash down New York City's Fifth Avenue is the perfect final Mile to my season,” said Simpson. “It will be fun to return home and do what I do best: the Mile, in front of American fans.”

Cain took a chance in the fall of 2013 and decided to forgo her collegiate eligibility to turn professional as a member of the Nike Oregon Project. Her decision paid off: She won the 2014 Wanamaker Mile at the NYRR Millrose Games and the IAAF World Junior Outdoor Championships 3000 meters at historic Hayward Field in Eugene, OR.

"I am very excited to be coming home for the Fifth Avenue Mile!” said Cain. “It'll be my first time competing in this historic road race, so I can't wait! I'm feeling really strong right now—training's going well and I have started to acclimate to living at the University of Portland! No matter what, this will be a lot of fun!"

Centrowitz has medaled in the 1500 meters at the last two IAAF World Championships: bronze in 2011(Daegu, South Korea) and silver in 2013 (Moscow, Russia). He’ll face tough competition from Kenyan Augustine Choge, the fastest Miler in the field; American Mile standout Will Leer; and Ciaran O’Lionaird, a 2011 World Championships 1500m finalist from Ireland.

"I've only had the privilege to race the Fifth Avenue Mile once in my professional career, and I can safely safe it's one of the most exciting races I've been part of,” said Centrowitz. “New York has always been a second home to me. Winning in 2012 was one of the highlights of the season and I'll be looking for the same result this year."

Featured Athlete Backgrounds and Notable Performances

  • Simpson, 28, of Boulder, CO, is the defending Fifth Avenue Mile champion. She won the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Championships at 1500 meters and returned to take the silver in 2013. This past summer, she captured the IAAF Diamond League series title at that distance. A former American record-holder in the 3000-meter, Simpson set a 1500-meter personal best of 3:57.22, the second-fastest performance in history by an American.
  • Cain, 18, of Portland, OR, is the reigning World Junior Champion at 3000 meters and the reigning Wanamaker Mile champion. A native of Bronxville, NY (about 15 miles north of the Fifth Avenue Mile finish line), Cain holds several national junior records, and in 2013 she became the youngest American ever to qualify for an IAAF World Championships team.
  • Martinez, 26, of Big Bear, CA, is the 2012 Fifth Avenue Mile champion and the 2013 IAAF World Outdoor Championships 800-meter bronze medalist. She has the second-fastest 1500-meter personal best in the field (4:00.94) behind Simpson, and she represented the United States at the 2012 IAAF World Indoor Championships at that distance.
  • Weightman, 23, of Great Britain, is the 2014 Commonwealth Games silver medalist and European Outdoor Championships bronze medalist at 1500 meters. The 2012 London Olympic 1500-meter finalist boasts a 1500-meter personal best of 4:00.17, the third-fastest in the field.
  • England, 27, of Great Britain, was the 1500-meter silver medalist at the 2011 IAAF World Outdoors Championships. She competed at the 2012 London Olympics in that same event and has run under 4:29 at the Fifth Avenue Mile 5 times, one sub-4:29 performance away from tying the event record of six set by Shannon Rowbury of the United States.
  • Kipyego, 28, of Kenya, is the 10,000-meter silver medalist at the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Championships and the 2012 London Olympics. She has run the fastest 10,000 meters in the world this year and is the reigning NYC Half Champion, setting an event record (1:08:31) in her debut at the distance.
  • Centrowitz, 24, of Portland, OR, captured the bronze medal at the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Championships 1500 meters and improved to silver in 2013; he finished fourth in that event at the 2012 London Olympics. The 2012 Fifth Avenue Mile champion, Centrowitz is the seventh-fastest American all-time in the 1500 meters (3:31.09).
  • Choge, 27, of Kenya, was the 3000-meter silver medalist at the 2012 World Indoor Championships. He has run the fastest Mile in the field (3:50.01) and the only sub-3:30 time for 1500 meters (3:29.47). Choge was the 5000-meter gold medalist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games at the age of 19 and represented Kenya at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
  • Leer, 29, of Marina Del Rey, CA, is the reigning Wanamaker Mile champion. The third-fastest Miler in the field, Leer won both the 1500- and 3000-meter races at the 2013 U.S. Indoor Championships.
  • O’Lionaird, 26, of Ireland, took the 3000-meter bronze medal at the 2013 European Indoor Championships and was a 1500-meter finalist at the 2014 European Outdoor Championships and the 2011 IAAF World Outdoor Championships.


1 Mary Cain USA 4:24.11i 4:04.62 @runmarycain
2 Jenny Simpson USA 4:25.91i 3:57.22 @trackjenny
3 Sarah Brown USA 4:26.67 4:05.27 @SarahMB15
4 Brenda Martinez USA 4:26.76 4:00.94 @bmartrun
5 Sally Kipyego KEN 4:27.19i 4:06.23 @sallykipyego
6 Kate Van Buskirk CAN 4:28.08 4:05.38 @K8VBeast
7 Ingvill Makestad Bovim NOR 4:28.49 4:02.20 @Runingvill
8 Treniere Moser USA 4:28.86i 4:02.85 @TreniereMoser
9 Violah Lagat KEN 4:29.43 4:05.66 @V_legit
10 Morgan Uceny USA 4:29.89 4:00.06 @MUceny
11 Heather Kampf USA 4:30.14i 4:06.16 @HeatherRaeKampf
12 Hannah England GBR 4:30.29i 4:01.89 @hannaengland
13 Brie Felnagle USA 4:30.44 4:05.64 @briefelnagle
14 Ciara Mageean IRE 4:38.81i 4:07.45  
15 Justine Fedronic FRA 4:39.81i 4:14.69 @ThisJustine_
16 Diane Cummins CAN 4:42.42i 4:05.02  
17 Ashley Higginson USA 4:43.01i 4:20.16i @AshleyHigz
18 Laura Weightman GBR N/A 4:00.17 @LauraWeightman
19 Gesa Krause GER N/A 4:11.94 @GesaFK


1 Augustine Choge KEN 3:50.01 3:29.47 @AugustineChoge
2 Matthew Centrowitz USA 3:50.53 3:31.09 @MattCentrowitz
3 Will Leer USA 3:51.82 3:35.27 @william_leer
4 David Torrence USA 3:52.01 3:33.23 @David_Torrence
5 Ciaran O'Lionaird IRE 3:52.10i 3:34.46 @GoCiaran
6 Jordan McNamara USA 3:52.42 3:34.00 @JordanMcNamara
7 Ben Blankenship USA 3:52.7r 3:37.23 @benfblakenship
8 Lawi Lalang KEN 3:52.88i 3:33.20 @LawiLalang1
9 Garrett Heath USA 3:53.15 3:34.12 @_garrettheath
10 Lee Emanuel GBR 3:54.75 3:36.55 @Lemanuel19
11 Kyle Merber USA 3:54.76 3:35.59 @TheRealMerb
12 Paul Robinson IRE 3:54.77 3:35.22 @PaulRob91
13 Ryan Hill USA 3:54.89i 3:37.10 @RyanHillNCState
14 Dan Huling USA 3:55.0r 3:37.53 @DanielHuling
15 German Hernandez USA 3:55.02 3:34.60 @german_ferndz
16 Michael Rutt USA 3:57.18 3:40.46 @Mike_Rutt
17 Mac Fleet USA 3:57.70i 3:38.35 @macfleet1

The professional men’s race will start at 12:45pm and the professional women’s race will start at 1:00pm. New this year, the NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile will feature a "Selfie Station." Runners and fans are invited to snap a selfie with the professional runners after the race at the awards stage from 1:45 to 2:15pm and upload the photos to social media using the hashtag #5thAveMile.

The 34th NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile will feature a wheelchair and handcycle race at 8:45am. Age group races, organized from youngest to oldest, will take place from 8:55 to 10:55am. The George Sheehan Memorial Mile, run in two heats, will take place at 11:15am for men and women ages 60 to 69 and 11:35am for men and women 70 years of age and older. The media Mile, featuring local members of the media, will start at noon, followed by the women’s and men’s NYRR Road Championship races at 12:15pm and 12:30pm, respectively. The final race of the day will be the kids' race for children between the ages of eight and 14 at 1:15pm.

About NYRR
Founded in 1958, New York Road Runners has grown from a local running club to the world’s premier community running organization, whose mission is to help and inspire people through running. NYRR’s commitment to New York City’s five boroughs features races, community events, youth initiatives, school programs, and training resources that provide hundreds of thousands of people each year, from children to seniors, with the motivation, know-how, and opportunity to run for life. NYRR’s premier event, the TCS New York City Marathon, features an estimated 50,000 participants, from the world’s elite athletes to a wide range of recreational and charity runners, and is part of the World Marathon Majors, an alliance of the world’s six biggest marathons that determines each year’s top male and top female marathoner. To learn more, visit

Tags: will leer (37) , matthew centrowitz (134) , mary wittenberg (2) , mary cain (63) , jenny simpson (134) , fifth avenue mile (32) , ciaran o'lionaird (3)

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