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Eric Jenkins Upsets Centrowitz in 5th Avenue Mile

Jenkins snuck up on Centro in the final meters to pull off the upset.

Track and Field: 42nd Prefontaine Classic Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

For whatever reason, road races don’t often fall prey to the sort of tactics that dominate championship races on the track. And, especially with the Fifth Avenue Mile offering incentives for the leader at the half-mile mark, the race tends to go out fast. The appeal of that incentive was especially on display in this one as Clayton Murphy came out of nowhere to surge in front of Ben Blankenship and Matt Centrowitz to claim the lead.

Murphy faded back after that surge, content with the potential earnings he made and the race broke off with Centro, Blankenship, and Colby Alexander up front.

That was the lead group until Blankenship started fading with a bit less than a quarter mile to go. While Alexander was able to hold on.

Over the last 200m, Eric Jenkins began to show up on the screen as the guy who WE DIDN’T EVEN PROFILE IN OUR RACE PREVIEW came up on Centro’s right. Knowing he had to deal with Alexander on his left shoulder, Centro only checked his left and completely missed Jenkins’ challenge. Jenkins took advantage of his surprisingly stealthy move to outlearn the Olympic gold medalist at the line.

This is about as big an upset as you could have (within reason) in this race. Jenkins is a talented runner, but he’s more skilled at the 5000m and 10,000m distances. The speed he showed this afternoon to close down on Centrowitz came, seemingly, out of nowhere.

Oregon Ducks go 1-2-3 with Alexander hanging on for a comfortable third-place finish.

Top 5

  1. Eric Jenkins 3:49.5
  2. Matt Centrowitz 3:49.6
  3. Colby Alexander 3:50.3
  4. Clayton Murphy 3:52.3
  5. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot 3:52.6