27 SEP 2010 General News New York, USA

Rowbury defends, Laalou breaks through at Fifth Avenue Mile

Amine Laalou makes his first visit to New York a memorable one with a victory in the Fifth Avenue Mile (New York Road Runners)Amine Laalou makes his first visit to New York a memorable one with a victory in the Fifth Avenue Mile (New York Road Runners) © Copyright
Finishing off their 2010 outdoor seasons in fine style, Shannon Rowbury of the United States and Amine Laalou of Morocco were victorious at the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile on Sunday (26).

Rowbury (4:24.12) defended her 2009 title with a surge in the final metres that relegated fellow Americans Sara Hall to second place (4:24.34) and Erin Donohue to third (4:24.40).

Laalou, competing in New York for the first time, ran 3:52.83 to beat out 2007 IAAF World Championships 1500m and 5000m gold medallist Bernard Lagat of the United States, who finished second (3:53.30), and defending champion Andy Baddeley of Great Britain (3:53.34), who was third.
 
“I knew coming out today that I was going to have to bring every game I had,” said Rowbury, 26, the 2009 IAAF World Championships 1500m bronze medallist. “We have such a talented group of American middle-distance women right now. I’m proud to be a part of it and it makes me a better athlete.” Rowbury set personal bests this year at 800m, 3000m, and 5000m.
 
Laalou, 28, who ran personal bests in the 1500m and mile - 3:29.53 and 3:50.22 - earlier this year, dedicated his victory to his first child, a daughter born earlier this month. “New York is a wonderful city,” he said through a translator. “I would love to come here again.”
 
The race showed a fine return to form for American mile record-holder Alan Webb, who finished fourth in 3:53.72. The 27-year-old had Achilles tendon surgery earlier this year and moved to Portland, OR, to train under Alberto Salazar. “This was a big-boy race here today, and I’m just really glad I was in it,” said Webb.
 
It was the 30th running of the Fifth Avenue Mile, an event inaugurated in 1981 by New York Road Runners to give middle-distance stars a chance to shine on New York City’s most famous thoroughfare. An elite-only race in its early years, the event now includes more than a dozen age-group heats in addition to the world-class races. For archived video of all heats, visit www.nyrr.org.

NYRRC for the IAAF