Given the lofty heights she reached on the track all summer it was entirely fitting Ciara Mageean chose to wrap up her season racing under the iconic shadows of New York’s Manhattan skyline.
Sunday’s 41st edition of the 5th Avenue Mile, which traditionally calls closing time for the middle-distance specialists, was possibly one too many, however, as Mageean faded over the second half of the race and finished down the field behind Britain’s Laura Muir, who clocked a brilliant course record of 4:14.8.
Mageean had got the better of Muir in her last two races, including just three nights previous when nailing second place over 1,500 metres at the Diamond League final in Zurich, that coming just a week after Mageean also beat Muir while clocking her new Irish record of 3:56.63 when winning the Brussels’s stop of the Diamond League.
Admittedly disappointed afterwards, it still takes nothing from Mageean’s superb season which saw also her win two silver medals over 1,500m at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and then the European Championships in Munich – in both cases just behind Muir.
Following a straight line down 20 blocks of 5th Avenue, starting near East 80th Street and finishing at East 60th Street, racing conditions were not ideal, light rain starting just before the start of the women’s race, Mageean making a slight slip at the start too.
Muir, however, was in a class of her own, hitting the front at halfway, passed in 2:09, and never looking back, winning by some 10 metres ahead of Nikki Hiltz of the US, second in 4:17.4; Eleanor Fulton, also of the US, third, 4:18.0; defending champion Jemma Reekie from Britain fourth in 4:18.3.
Mageean came home in 4:30, in 17th position, meaning the only previous Irish winner of the prestigious race is still Sinéad Delahunty, her victory coming back in 1995, clocking 4:25.2.
In the men’s race the only previous Irish winner was Frank O’Mara, back in 1985, clocking 3:52.28, and Andrew Coscoran was the sole Irish interest in the 2022 edition.
There was no matching defended champion Jake Wightman, Britain’s world 1,500m champion taking the win in 3:49.6; ahead of his countryman Jake Hayward, second in 3:49.9; with Sam Prakel of the USA third in 3:50.4; – making for another men’s and women’s British double in the Big Apple like last year.
Coscoran chased hard to the line in 15th place, running 3:55 flat, the Dubliner also coming off the back of a long season which saw him run a personal best of 3:35.43 for 1,500m in Padova just last week.
Back at home, Yared Derese (Carrick Aces AC) and Kate Purcell (Raheny Shamrock AC) claimed their respective national half-marathon titles at Fairyhouse racecourse on Saturday. Staged along with the Ratoath Half Marathon, Derese clocked a course record 1:05:29 to claim gold, followed in by Paul Maloney of Mallow AC (1:10:16), Noel Carroll third for Shercock AC (1:10:24).
Purcell continued her fine season, winning the national five-mile earlier this season, also running a women’s course record of 1.18:01, followed home by Sarah Baryga of Sli Cualann (1:21)
At the 41st Great North Run half-marathon in Newcastle, Kenya’s Hellen Obiri won the women’s race by just two seconds, clocking 67:05, while Jacob Kiplimo from Uganda enjoying a far more convincing win, running 59.33.