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What it’s like to run the NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile


(Photo: New York Road Runners)
(Photo: New York Road Runners)

With mud pits, cargo net walls, and barbed wire literally par for the course at obstacle races these days, a one-mile race down the well-paved and posh Fifth Avenue is a refreshingly simple and unfussy concept.

September 13 marked the 34th annual New York Road Runners Fifth Avenue Mile, with 5,600 participants from eight to 91-years-old running the 20 retail-laced blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art to Grand Army Plaza at 59th Street.

Of course, some took it seriously, while others—dressed in elephant heads (no idea!) and sequined skirts—did not so much. Jordan McNamara took home first place at a staggering 3:51 sprint. (He was not one of the ones wearing an elephant head.)

I was somewhere in the middle, as a routine runner (not racer), just going for my personal best. The electric energy from the sidelines pushed me from my usual 9:30 mile pace to 7:00 (hooray!). The race—with its only-in-New York inspiring thoughts and the reason why so many sign up for it—was over as soon as it started.

And even though it wasn’t a marathon, I still felt like I’d earned a post-race brunch—with maybe even a mimosa or two.  —Jamie McKillop

For more information, visit www.newyorkroadrunners.com