In the men’s professional race, which will get underway shortly after 10 o’clock, Great Britain’s Andrew Baddeley looks to be the favorite with a personal-best of 3:49.38, some 6 seconds ahead of his closest competitor. Baddeley won the Fifth Avenue Mile last year on the streets of New York City and is a 2008 Olympic finalist in the 1,500 meters. Last year’s winner, Darren Brown of Austin, Texas, ran 4:11.6 to top the field on the turning, three-lap course and will be returning to defend his title. Baddeley’s biggest challenge looks to come from Ireland’s Alistair Cragg, a two-time Irish Olympian with a personal-best of 3:55.04 who finished third at this event last year and has been training well of late with the Terrance Mahon and Mammoth Track Club. Other athletes in the 8-person field looking to take home a chunk of the $7,250 prize purse include Mexico’s Juan Luis Barrios (3:56.08 PR), the United States’ Garret Heath (3:57.34), Great Britain’s Mark Draper (3:45.80) and Ricky Stevenson (3:56.31) and Ethiopia’s Markos Geneti (3:33.83 for 1,500 meters).
The women’s field features one sub-4:30 miler in the Erin Donahue. The former North Carolina Tarheel has a personal best of 4:26.48, five seconds better than countrywoman Morgan Uceny – the 2010 US indoor champion at 1,500 meters – who has a 4:31.70 mile to her credit. Donahue and Uceny will be challenged by Uceny’s Mammoth Track Club teammate, Sara Hall (4:32.24) and fellow American Frances Koons (4:33.24). Ireland’s Roisin McGettigan, a Providence College alum and Irish national record holder in the steeplechase, sports a personal best of 4:35.55 in the mile. Serbia’s Maria Muncan, who ran 4:31 at the Fifth Avenue Mile in 2007, rounds out the five-woman field.
Preceding the professional races will be the boys and girls scholastic mile races at 9:45. This invitational event features high school runners representing schools from towns along the historic Boston Marathon course. Newton North High School’s Ezra Lichtman leads the field of 16 in the boys race with a personal best of 4:27. His next closest competitor is Newton South senior Yuji Wakimoto, who has run 4:31. On the girls side, junior Margo Gillis of Newton North High School returns as defending champion. Gillis, who sports a personal best of 5:00, will be challenged by Newton South senior Melanie Feldman, who ran a best of 4:57 this past winter at the Nike Indoor National Meet.