Athletics News

5th Ave Mile — Scots Stand Their Ground

5th Ave Mile — Scots Stand Their Ground

1500 world champ Josh Kerr took care of “unfinished business” on the macadam to close out his season. (VICTOR SAILER/PHOTO RUN)

NEW YORK CITY, September 10 — Scotland’s superiority in Manhattan continued with a sweep of the 5th Avenue Mile titles, with Jemma Reekie and newly crowned world champion Josh Kerr navigating steady rain and a slippery course to come out on top over impressive fields in the 20-block race, pocketing $5000 each. This marked the third year in a row that Scots topped both podiums.

The women were up first and Melissa Courtney-Bryant of Great Britain was at the front of a tightly bunched pack, flanked by Reekie (who won this race in 2021) and U.S. indoor record holder Elle St. Pierre — racing for the first time since giving birth to her son Ivan on March 4.

Kaela Edwards surged to the front just before halfway to collect a $1000 leader bonus, then just as quickly backed off and rejoined the group. She ended up finishing 13th but finished under the 4:32 required to collect that prize.

The racing began in earnest moments later when Reekie, Australian Jessica Hull (two days removed from a 4th-place finish in the Brussels Diamond League) and U.S. 1500 champion Nikki Hiltz accelerated to the front.

Reekie, who finished 5th in the 800 in Budapest, gradually opened up a slight gap on the field, but just before 1500 meters Ireland’s Sarah Healy snuck through on her right to take a brief lead. A final burst from Reekie put her comfortably back up front and she crossed the line in 4:19.4, well shy of Laura Muir’s course record 4:14.8 from a year ago.

“With 800 meters to go, I thought, that’s my distance, and I was like, ‘I can run 800 meters pretty hard,’” she said with a laugh. “I was quite confident and I knew I had that kick in my legs for the end.”

Healy (4:20.0) took 2nd, followed by Courtney-Bryant (4:20.6), who snuck up on Hiltz (4:20.7) at the tape. St. Pierre showed that her fitness is returning nicely with a 7th-place showing in 4:23.3.

Reekie, who split with longtime coach Andy Young in March, now works with Jon Bigg. “We’re really focusing on that 800 meters, so I think we’ll see the benefits of that indoors and outdoors next year,” she said.

A few weeks removed from his astonishing upset victory in the Budapest 1500, Kerr came to New York looking to settle what he called “unfinished business.” Erasing a disappointing 10th-place showing on 5th Avenue last year was sufficient motivation…

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