NEW YORK (26-Sep) -- Britain's Andy Baddeley and San Francisco's Shannon Rowbury won the 29th edition of the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile here today in tight sprint finishes.
Baddeley, 27, Europe's fastest miler in the 2008 season, made a brilliant move with just 20 meters to go, angling from the right side of the roadway to the tape and getting around Boaz Lalang of Kenya, Leo Manzano of Austin, Tex., and Bernard Lagat of Tuscon, Ariz. Baddeley, who was running his first Fifth Avenue Mile, clocked 3 minutes and 52 seconds. Lalang finished second and Manzano third, both in 3:53. Lagat, the 2007 world 1500m and 5000m champion, was fourth and was given the same time.
Rowbury also used the last 20 meters to her best advantage. Running in the middle of the roadway, she pierced through a pack of three challengers: defending champion Lisa Dobriskey of Britain, 2006 Fifth Avenue champion Sara Hall, and former NCAA 1500m champion Hannah England of Britain. Rowbury, who was second her last year, was a clear winner in 4 minutes 24 seconds. Dobriskey, who was given the same time, finished second, just an eyelash ahead of Hall (a photo review was necessary to separate them). Christian Wurth-Thomas of Springdale, Ark., came from the right side of the avenue to take fourth (4:24), and England faded to fifth (4:26).
Both Baddeley and Rowbury received $5000 in prize money.
The race was inaugurated in 1981 with a star-studded field, including legends Steve Scott, John Walker, Steve Cram, Eamonn Coghlan, Ray Flynn and Sydney Maree. Maree ran 3:47.52 to establish the still-standing event record.
NOTE: Videos of the races will be posted at NYRR.org later today --Ed.