By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
NEW YORK (10-Sep) — Jemma Reekie delivered a brilliant performance to win the women’s professional race at the 2023 New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile, held here for the 42nd time. Her victory saw Scotland athletes winning the elite race for the third consecutive year.
JEMMA REEKIE TIMES HER FINISH PERFECTLY
Reekie, who won here in 2021, used her experience with the race’s up and down course to her best advantage. She didn’t waste any energy today.
“It’s really important to know this course, I think, running in a straight line,” Reekie told Race Results Weekly. “I even did a session the other day in a straight line to practice for this.”
Kaela Edwards, third at July’s USATF Championships in the 800m, was the first to leave the main group just before the halfway mark. But like Kemboi in the men’s race, she was only after the $1000 prime.
“I’m definitely not the most prepared for the mile right now,” Edwards said. “So this is fun. I knew it would be a fun thing to get that halfway bonus. Got to have a little fun at some point this season.”
The race quickly got serious after that. Reekie, USA 1500m champion Nikki Hiltz, Briton’s Melissa Courtney-Bryant, and Australia’s Jessica Hull were all near the front in the second half.
Hiltz, who finished second here last year, was keen to get on the podium again, but she ended up fourth today behind Courtney-Bryant, 4:20.6 to 4:20.7.
“It sucks getting fourth,” Hiltz told reporters while still managing to laugh. The USA mile record holder continued: “It happened right on the line. I gave it everything. It was hard, it was wet, it was kind of cold.”
Reekie didn’t have the same kind of explosive finish as Kerr, but she had a good enough gap to not worry about being passed in the end. Ireland’s Sarah Healy came up directly behind her but fell short by six-tenths of a second in 4:20.0.
“I really wanted to come here and win again,” said Reekie, who plans to continue her season at the Wanda Diamond League final in Eugene next weekend. “We got that done.”
Healy, who is only 22, was excited with her runner-up performance. However, like George Mills in the men’s race, she felt that she misjudged the race just a little bit.
“I think, maybe, I thought it was 100 meters further than it was,” Healy admitted, wrapped in an Irish flag. “Now I’m thinking I should have waited another ten seconds to really kick. I really enjoyed it, but I was nervous about getting it right.”
RAIN CANCELS SOME HEATS
Not all of the heats at this huge event could be contested today. Some lightning was in the area and New York Road Runners officials temporarily shut down the course and only reopened it for the professional races which were broadcast live by NBC Sports.
Nonetheless, 8587 athletes finished today’s race, slightly more than the 8503 recorded last year. That made today’s event the largest road mile in the world this year.