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Malcolm Gladwell races New York City’s Fifth Avenue Mile

The Canadian author and avid runner races the Fifth Avenue Mile for the fourth time in five years on Sunday, this time clocking 5:11

Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell
Courtesy of NYRR.

Canadian best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell put his fitness to the test at the Fifth Avenue Mile on Sunday.

Racing the New York Road Runners-hosted event down the iconic Manhattan thoroughfare, Gladwell, 54, ran 5:11 for the mile, or 1,609m. The author known for The Tipping Point and Outliers: The Story of Success, among works, is an avid runner with impressive credentials dating back to his high school (OFSAA) days. According to NYRR results, his age-graded result equates to a 4:23 mile.

There were 7,664 finishers who raced the popular road mile along the east side of Central Park making it the largest turnout in event history. The race, which is split up into heats to accommodate the thousands of runners, covers 20 blocks between 80th Street and 60th Street.

Malcolm Gladwell
Courtesy of NYRR.

In 2013, Gladwell ran 5:03 at the Fifth Avenue Mile before improving the following year with a 4:54, his best time on the course. In 2015, he ran 5:03 and didn’t race in 2016. This year, Gladwell’s 5:11 placed him 15th out of 266 runners in the men’s 50-54 division. He runs for the New York Harriers.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Gladwell, who resides in New York City, had not raced for 35 years prior to entering, and running, the 2013 Fifth Avenue Mile.

His result comes shortly after the author challenged LeBron James to a one-mile race on social media. “One mile. Anywhere. Anytime. Me vs. LeBron,” he tweeted on Aug. 23.

American Jenny Simpson and New Zealand’s Nick Willis won the Fifth Avenue Mile, clocking 3:51.3 and 4:16.6. It was Simpson’s sixth victory at the New Balance-sponsored event.


Other notable Fifth Avenue Mile runners include former NFL running back Tiki Barber and American producer and actor Nev Schulman.