Skip links

Fifth Avenue Mile

September 14, 2023 update: NYRR has informed clubs of the decision to exclude the Fifth Avenue Mile from the Club Points Series, because of the cancellation of the Road Mile Championships and the NYPD/FDNY heats due to the lightning, which impacted runners of all ages. All the details on the age teams below are therefore to be disregarded and the standings prior to the race are reinstated.

This race is unique in so many ways – and not only because of the excitement of running down one of the finest stretches of blocks of our glorious Fifth Avenue. To begin with, this is the only race on the NYRR calendar where start waves are arranged by age group. This makes it the one chance we’ve got to wear proudly our age on our chest, as the wave letter on our bib gives away our age group. It also means we can clearly see who we’re competing with within our age group. How awesome is that? 

Also, think about it: there is no other race where runners need to stay 100% mentally focused on their strategy for the entire course. No distraction allowed! It’s so easy to go out too fast or too slow – and because it’s only one mile, there is no time to make up for a wrong start! This is what makes the Fifth Avenue Mile one of the most nerve-racking races around – and at the same time one of the most respected ones. Still, at the end of day, it’s a race that is over before you know it. 

This year’s Mile was especially eventful. A downpour started while the 60-69 age group wave was about to start.⛈ ☔ Both that group and the 70+ group ran in the pouring rain and faced an unexpected headwind.🌬 It’s open to debate whether these conditions were better or worse than the heat and humidity of the earlier waves (feel free to comment about it). I was among those in the 60-69 wave and at a certain point the rain was so heavy and thick I couldn’t even read the street signs to figure out how many blocks I was down Fifth Avenue… 

The downpour didn’t stop the Flyers’ Cheer Zone, led from early morning by valiant Wendy Mitchell, and the other Flyers scattered along the course, from keeping up their amazing cheering for runners! Shortly after the 70+ wave, NYRR decided to pause the race, ordered runners and others to seek shelter indoors for lightning safety, and canceled all subsequent waves (alas including the Rising New York Road Runners kids) until the pro waves. And the rest is history: the winner ran the Mile in 3:48 and the top 17 men all broke 4 minutes!

56 Flyers were among today’s 8,586 finishers. This was the 7th of the 11 club points races, and we won 2 team awards: the 60+ Men Team (Francesco Presutti, John Whitfield and Colm Banfield) won silver and the 60+ Women Team (Denise Iannizzotto, Nina Zoe Parks-Taylor and Lisa Konorty) won bronze. Isn’t that nice given the extremely competitive field in this race, and with both teams running in the middle of a thunderstorm? 😃

We also had lots of PRs: Abe Lee, Paul Nap (mile debut), Sebastian Lieng, Michael Kim, Ley Alejaldre Biel, Marc Feldman, Chris Moy, Vivian Duran-Moy, and probably more – please let us know if we missed you! 

Congratulations to the award winners, the PR setters and to the entire team!

And now let’s talk about our incredible top runners!

The team was led by Abe Lee, who finished the race in 5:10 (AGP 79.19% and PR!). Abe was followed by Jacob Olesen, who finished 2nd for the team in 5:21 (AGP 71.45%). Zac Charlton was third in 5:32. In the NYRR official ranking, the fourth and fifth place finishes go to Paul Nap on his mile debut (5:40, AGP 72.78%) and Deniz Saat (also 5:40), but credit must be given to a third Flyer who also finished in 5:40: Sebastian Lieng (74.99% and PR!). Our open men team was 27th today and is still 5th in the Open Men B standings

Geneviève Boutin led the women’s team with a blistering time of 6:25 (AGP 71.72%). Ley Alejaldre Biel came second in the women’s team in 6:30 (PR!). Denise Iannizzotto was third for the team with 6:43, which earned her a 4th AG place and an AGP of 78.5%). Yumi Morishige came fourth with 6:46 (AGP 74.18%). Julia Prisco was fifth with 7:25. The open women team was 30th and is still 13th in the Open Women A standings. 

As already mentioned, two teams won an award today:

  • The 60+ Men Team, including Francesco Presutti (5:47, 7th AG place, AGP 79.81%), John Whitfield (6:02, 9th AG place, AGP 77.13%) and Colm Banfield (6:25, AGP 72.48%) came 2nd and is now 6 points closer to the top. With 4 more races to go, the team is still 2nd in the club standings, and only 13 points behind the frontrunning team! 
  • The 60+ Women Team, including Denise, Nina Zoe Parks-Taylor (7:38, AGP 72.64%) and Lisa Konorty (7:39), came 3rd, and is still solidly 2nd in the club standings, 15 points behind the frontrunning team.

The game is still open. Go teams!

Kudos also to the following teams:

  • The 40+ Men Team (Abe and Paul) finished 9th and is still 12th in the club standings. 
  • The 40+ Women Team (Geneviève, Ley and Denise) finished 13th and is now 10th in the club standings. 
  • The 50+ Men Team (Sebastian, Francesco and Craig Williams, 6:00, AGP 70.84%) finished 8th and is still 6th in the club standings. 
  • The 50+ Women Team (Denise, Yumi and Vivian Duran-Moy, 7:31, PR!) finished 10th and is still 5th in the club standings.
  • The 70+ Men Team (David Dempsey, 7:36, Felix Alicea, 10:05, and Joseph Bauman, 10:14) finished 4th and is still 5th in the club standings.
  • The 70+ Women Team, represented by Hindy Schachter, 13:47, 7th AG place, and Karen Kenney, 15:36, did not have a minimum of three runners and did not score points, but is still 3rd in the club standings.

Honors go also to the 2 additional Flyers who finished in the top ten of their age groups and/or scored an AGP of 70% or above:

  • Michael Alexander: 5:41, AGP 71.85% and
  • Deb Saat: 8:00, 6th AG place, AGP 70.17%

The team’s full results can be found at:

Today we are also celebrating another wonderful athlete (or “non-athlete athlete”, as she likes defining herself): Brooke Farrington. Her race this morning was her 200th NYRR race. “It was super fun,” she told me shortly after the race. “Not the best weather, but luckily, I ran in the humidity, not in the rain. I was just happy doing what I love and just trying not to get hurt before Berlin.” Brooke ran the Mile in 11:33. (You will not find her listed with the team’s results: as a recent member she is still getting into the habit of indicating her club affiliation when she signs up.) Congratulations on reaching this landmark, Brooke!

Brooke shared with me her wonderful story shortly after her race. “I started running in 2006 to fit into a bridesmaid's dress,” she told me. Brooke lives in Rye, NY near Playland amusement park. “As I was lying on the couch”, she said, “trying to figure out why my diet wasn't working, the breeze blew and I could smell the salt air from the beach, I realized then that I had this beautiful park to exercise in, and so it began. I started walking and then gradually added running into the mix.”

The following year Brooke signed up for her first half. Then after losing her job, and with plenty of time to train, she signed up for her first marathon. "After running and completing my first marathon at 36 I was hooked,” Brooke told me. She ran Boston (“that's where my PR stands at 5:04:18”), and plenty more marathons, half-marathons, ultras, and charity events. Brooker is on her way to becoming a NYCM streaker – this year will be her 12th – and she is midway through her quest to complete the six Abbott World Majors. “I have NY, Chicago and Boston complete,” she told me. “I am running Berlin in two weeks. I can't wait to see where my running journey takes me... so many stories to tell.

Brooke decided to become a Flyer last year on the SI Ferry on the way to the SI Half. “While chatting about training plans,” she said, “my seat mate told me about the Flyers’ fabulous training runs. I had been a bit skeptical about joining a running club because usually there aren't slower pace groups. I love that the Flyers accommodate slower paces I have done 3 fabulous training runs with the Flyers and was welcomed with open arms! Thank you!”

Finally, this race counts also for the 2023 Flyers awards. In case you missed it, since the Percy Sutton Harlem 5K, the member standings are now available online, thanks to David Gaines’s hard work and dedication. Many of the awards are still up for grabs. Have a look here to see how you are faring within your age group: 

Well done, Flyers!

-Francesco P, NY Flyers Blog Race Reporter, #NYRRstaff