Lagat And Simpson Headline Fifth Avenue Mile

A total prize purse of $30,000 is up for grabs.

From: NYRRmedia.org

A quartet of medalists from the recent IAAF World Championships—including the winners of gold and silver in the women’s 1500 meters—apparently haven’t had their fill of glitter. Jenny Simpson, Hannah England, Sally Kipyego, and Bernard Lagat lead a field of top professional athletes announced today for next Saturday’s Fifth Avenue Mile by New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg.

They will be competing for a total prize purse of $30,000, with the men’s and women’s winners each earning $5,000.

“After winning a World Championship medal, I can’t think of a more American place to return than New York City,” said Simpson, the 1500-meter gold medalist. “I want to share the excitement of my season with everyone who had touched my career in a positive way.”

To say that 2011 has been exciting for Simpson is an understatement, beginning with a double victory at 3000 meters and the mile at the USA Indoor Championships after missing most of last season with a stress reaction. Then, two weeks ago, a stunning 1500-meter victory in Daegu, South Korea, earned her the title of World Champion. At the bell, Simpson was in ninth place. With 200 meters remaining, the 25-year-old American had moved up to seventh before making a strong move, followed by Hannah England of Great Britain, to pick off everyone in front of her. (See the accompanying “5 Things You Should Know About Me”to learn more about Simpson.)

In a rematch of sorts, England is also set for New York. The silver medalist, 25, was a two-time NCAA Champion at Florida State University and the British AAA Champion at 1500 meters in 2010 and 2011.

Joining them will be Kipyego, 25, of Kenya, the new World Championship silver medalist at 10,000 meters. Kipyego is one of the best collegiate runners of all time, completing her career at Texas Tech tied with Suzy Favor-Hamilton for the most individual NCAA titles, with nine. Looking for her third consecutive win here will be 2009 and 2010 Fifth Avenue Mile winner Shannon Rowbury, 26, who brings a World Championship 1500-meter medal of her own: bronze, from 2009. The American was ninth at 1500 meters in the 2008 Olympic Games.

On the men’s side, Lagat returns to the Fifth Avenue Mile for his fourth attempt at breaking the tape after finishing second in 2010 and 2008 and fourth in 2009.

“I said I’m coming until I win it, so this year I’m going to win it and will be prepared for that,”said Lagat, 36, who took the silver medal at the World Championships 5000 meters earlier this month. “I’m going to be tough to beat in New York.”

He certainly has been tough to beat at New York City’s Millrose Games, where he holds the record with his eight victories in the Wanamaker Mile. The American record-holder in the 1500, 3000 and 5000 meters outdoors and 1500 meters, mile, 2-mile and 3000 meters indoors, Lagat’s newest World Championships medal brings his total from that event to four including double gold in 2007 at 1500 and 5000 meters. He is also a two-time Olympic medalist at 1500 meters, while running for his native Kenya.

Lagat will be challenged by a field that includes defending champion Amine Laalou of Morocco, 29, fifth at 800 meters in the 2009 World Championships; four-time U.S. 800-meter champion Nick Symmonds, fifth at that distance in the 2011 World Championships; Anthony Famiglietti, 32, a two-time Olympian in the 3000-meter steeplechase; and David Torrence, three-time U.S. 1-Mile Road Champion.

The Fifth Avenue Mile begins near East 80th Street and finishes at East 60th Street. The wheelchair and handcycle race will kick off the event at 9 a.m. After that, entrants will run in heats according to age and gender. The professional women’s race is scheduled to start at 12:50 p.m., followed by the professional men’s race at 1:05 p.m.

The complete lineups in alphabetical order, as of Sept. 13, are as follows:


MEN

A.J. Acosta, San Diego, CA, USA

Ben Bruce, Eugene, OR, USA

Kevin Chelimo, Eugene, OR, KEN

Abiyot Endale, Bronx, NY, USA

Anthony Famiglietti, Davidson, NC, USA

Ryan Gregson, AUS

Garrett Heath, Palo Alto, CA, USA

Christian Hesch, Hollywood, CA, USA

Amine Laalou, MAR

Bernard Lagat, Tucson, AZ, USA

Haron Lagat, Lubbock, TX, KEN

Boaz Lalang, Tucson, AZ, KEN

Will Leer, Eugene, OR, USA

Craig Miller, Madison, WI, USA

Kyle Miller, Austin, TX, USA

Jeff Riseley, AUS

Jeff See, Columbus OH, USA

Nick Symmonds, Eugene, OR, USA

David Torrence, San Francisco, CA, USA


WOMEN

Gabriele Anderson, Minneapolis, MN, USA

Hannah England, GBR

Maggie Infeld, Washington, D.C., USA

Ingvill Måkestad Bovim, NOR

Alysia Montano, Canyon Country, CA, USA

Sara Hall, Mammoth Lakes, CA, USA

Sally Kipyego, Eugene, OR, USA

Susan Kuijken, NED

Kaila Knight, AUS

Treniere Moser, Austin, TX, USA

Barbara Parker, GBR

Shannon Rowbury, San Francisco, CA, USA

Jenny Simpson, Monument, CO, USA

Diana Sujew, GER

Elina Sujew, GER

Maggie Vessey, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

Lea Wallace, Sacramento, CA, USA

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