In what for many athletes was their final race of the outdoor track season, the final week was not a disappointment. On Wednesday, August 31, the second annual HOKA ONE ONE Long Island Mile took place, with the next day being the Zurich Diamond League Meet. Finally, today, on Saturday, September 3, the 5th Avenue Mile was held in New York City, which was the final race of the season for many American track runners.
HOKA ONE ONE Long Island Mile
The brainchild of Long Island native Kyle Merber (whom I interviewed earlier this season), this was the second installment of the grassroots-style track meet held at St. Anthony’s High School in Huntington, New York. The race included five Olympians (Donn Cabral, Leo Manzano, Chris O’Hare, Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, and David Torrence), as well as Olympic Trials finalists Colby Alexander, Johnny Gregorek, and Merber himself. The race went out in around 2:57 for 1200m, with Merber leading after pacemaker Declan Murray dropped. With around 300 to go, Philibert-Thiboutot made a move into first, with defending champ Torrence right on his heels. On the final homestretch, Torrence had a little more left in him than Philibert-Thiboutot, winning in 3:54.99. Philibert-Thiboutto ran 3:55.25, while Hoka One One’s Ford Palmer took third in 3:55.60. In just its second year, the HOKA ONE ONE Long Island Mile is quickly turning into a meet of legitimate notability, as well as looking like one of the most fun meets to be at as a spectator. Here’s to many more years of its success!
ZURICH DIAMOND LEAGUE MEET
In what was originally thought to be one of the best American 5K races in history, turned out to be a tactical race where no man broke 13. Bronze medalist Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia took the victory in 13:14.82, while silver medalist Paul Chelimo got second in 13:16.51, barely beating out fellow American and steeplechase silver medalist Evan Jager (13:16.86). Bernard Lagat, in one of his final track races, took sixth in 13:19.73, while Ryan Hill (who recently ran 7:30.93 for 3K) ran 13:20.46—good for a ninth place finish. Hassan Mead, who qualified for the Olympic 5K final, dropped out. Although the results don’t show it, all five of these American men have the potential to break 13 (Lagat has already done it). It’ll be interesting to see how Chelimo fares in his next track season after breaking out this last one, as well as seeing if Hill can translate his 3K dominance into an incredible 5K.
FIFTH AVENUE MILE
The final star-studded race of the season! All three American 1500 Olympic qualifiers were in this (Centro, Blankenship, Andrews), as well as 800 bronze medalist Clayton Murphy, Olympic Trials 5K 4th place finisher Eric Jenkins, Olympians Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, Nate Brannen, and Donn Cabral, as well as NCAA Steeplechase champ and recently turned-pro Mason Ferlic and the NJ*NY crew (Alexander, Merber, Palmer, Gregorek). Blankenship took out the race in 56, but it was Murphy who grabbed the half-mile $1000 prize in 1:53. After that, Centro took the lead, with Colby Alexander battling him the last 400. It became a battle between Centro and Alexander, until Centro pulled ahead in the last few meters—and that’s when Eric Jenkins struck. Jenkins just snuck past Centro to take the win in an astounding 3:49.5 to Centro’s 3:49.6. Alexander took third in 3:50.3, and Murphy fourth in 3:52.3.