The Fifth Avenue Mile: 1981 Record Still Unbroken


On Saturday the 34th Fifth Avenue Mile was run. In addition to the Marathon, this is the other marquis fall running event in New York City. Since the inaugural race in 1981, no man has run it faster than the 3:47:52 record set that day. How can it be with all the advances in the sport, that this record remains unbroken to this day?

August of 1981 was a big month for the mile, which was the premiere track event at that time. The world record changed hands 3 times and the field was stacked for the inaugural Fifth Avenue Mile. Among the top competitors were Sydnee Maree, then the new American record holder with a time 3:48:83; John Walker, the former world record holder; and Eamonn Coghlan, the world record holder in the indoor mile. Among the 13 runners in the race, 5 had broken 3:50, but these men were used to running in circles on a track.

This was a straight shot down, and I mean down, Fifth Avenue. Except for a quarter mile uphill stretch, the course is basically all downhill. When the starting gun went off, there was no pacing except for a straight all out sprint to the finish, and at the end it was Sydnee Maree with the win and the world record.

And with the 2014 results in… the record still stands!