British Olympians Jemma Reekie, Jake Wightman Take Wins at the 2021 5th Avenue Mile

American Jenny Simpson was not in the women’s field for the first time since 2011.

5th avenue mile
Da Ping Luo/NYRR
  • Great Britain’s Jemma Reekie won the Pro Women’s 5th Avenue Mile in New York City in 4:21.6, more than a second ahead of second-place Nikki Hiltz.
  • In the men’s pro race, Jake Wightman, also of Great Britan, crossed the line first in 3:49.6.
  • Americans Alicia Monson and Matthew Centrowitz both started fast and led the women’s and men’s races respectively at the half, netting them a $1,000 bonus each.

    With a perfectly timed kick, British Olympian Jemma Reekie won the 5th Avenue Mile in New York City in 4:21.6. Reekie, 23, was more than a second faster than Nikki Hiltz in second, who ran 4:23.3. Shannon Osika finished third in 4:23.2.

    It’s been a busy summer for Reekie, an 800-meter specialist. She just missed out on an Olympic medal in the 800 meters in Tokyo, finishing fourth in that race in a PR of 1:56.90—0.09 seconds from the bronze medal. In all, she’s raced the 800 meters 14 times in 2021, the most recent at the Diamond League meet in Zurich three days ago.

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    The international travel in the last few days and the lack of turns—the 5th Avenue Mile course is a straight shot down 20 blocks in the heart of Manhattan—didn’t faze Reekie, who said her strategy was simple: Don’t think; just run. “I didn’t put too much thought behind it, I just kind of zoned out until the last wee bit,” she told after the race. She collected $5,000 for her win; Hiltz earned $3,500, and Osika took home $2,500.

    American Olympian Alicia Monson pushed the early pace, opening up a 10-meter lead on the field in the first half and collecting a $1,000 bonus for hitting the halfway mark first and finishing faster than 4:32. After her strong start, Monson faded to sixth in 4:25.4.

    Reekie is the first champion other than Jenny Simpson since 2012. Simpson was the winner the last eight times the race was held, and she holds nine 5th Avenue titles in all. But after a disappointing track season during which she did not make the Olympic team, she turned her attention to longer distances and instead entered the USATF 10-mile championship in Washington, D.C., today. There, she finished second in 52:16, behind Nell Rojas in 52:13.

    5th avenue mile
    Jake Wightman of Great Britain also won the 2018 5th Avenue Mile.
    Da Ping Luo/NYRR

    In the men’s elite race, Jake Wightman and Jake Heyward, two other athletes from Great Britain, finished first and third, respectively, with Australian Oliver Hoare between them for second.

    Wightman, who won this event in 2018 and knew how to gauge his effort to the finish, ran a very speedy 3:49.6, winning by several meters over Hoare in 3:50.4. Heyward was also timed in 3:50.4. Sam Prakel was the top American in fourth in 3:50.5.

    Matthew Centrowitz darted out of the pack just before halfway to earn the $1,000 bonus, before finishing 14th in 3:56.4.

    The 27-year-old Wightman, like his countrywoman Reekie, was concluding a long season on the track, which included a 10th-place finish in the Olympic 1500-meter final.

    “That’s a straight mile PB, but I feel pretty grim now,” Wightman said of his win, which was nearly five seconds faster than his win in 2018. “That was hard work.”

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