BRITISH SWEEP FOR MUIR, WIGHTMAN AT NEW BALANCE FIFTH AVENUE MILE
By David Monti, @d9monti – Used with permission.
(c) 2022 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved – Used with permission.
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NEW YORK (11-Sep) — In a steady rain Britain’s Laura Muir and Jake Wightman capped their medal-winning seasons with impressive victories here today at the 41st running of the New Balance Fifth Avenue Mile, the world’s largest and most prestigious road mile. Muir, the 2022 World Athletics Championships 1500m bronze medalist who also won the European and Commonwealth 1500m titles this summer, blasted away from the field at halfway to win in a new race record of 4:14.8. Wightman, the 2022 world 1500m champion who also won a 1500m bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games and an 800m silver medal at the European Athletics Championships this summer, waited until the last stages of the race to slip ahead another Briton, Jake Heyward, and win his third Fifth Avenue title in 3:49.6. A total of 8501 runners finished the race, the second-highest total in event history.
Muir, who like Wightman represented Scotland in the Commonwealth Games, carefully planned her attack with coach Andy Young. They decided to bluff the field midway through the race where Muir would appear to be going for the halfway prime of $1000 before she would surely slow down to her regular race rhythm.
“We went out yesterday and looked at it and marked out where the halfway point was,” Young told Race Results Weekly. “I said, ‘if you go here (you) break the field apart. If you do that, it’s like a double bluff. The people will think you’re going for the halfway mark. You’re going to catch them by surprise and keep going.'”
Muir did exactly that. She rapidly built a huge lead and her key rivals realized quickly that she wasn’t coming back.
“I was like, well, Laura really wants the halfway bonus,” said American Nikki Hiltz who finished second in 4:17.4, a time which would have won every previous Fifth Avenue Mile on the women’s side except three. “I thought she was just going to skirt ahead to get the bonus, but she just never looked back.” Hiltz added: “I was like, she’s not slowing down.”
Just before breaking the finish tape with her victory well in hand, the exhausted Muir eased up her pace just slightly. Had she slowed just a bit more she might have missed breaking Jenny Simpson’s event record of 4:16.1 set in 2019. She said later that the win…
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