21 Things on Kyle Merber's Mind During the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile

21 Things on Kyle Merber's Mind During the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile

Kyle Merber (@TheRealMerb on Twitter) has become a regular at the 5th Avenue Mile, finishing in the top 10 of the men’s professional heat the past three years. As he gears up to take on that famous 20-block stretch of 5th Avenue for a fourth time on September 10, Merber shared with us what’s going through his head as he ticks off each block from East 80th Street to Grand Army Plaza.  

Kyle Merber (far right) kicks it into high gear at the start of the 2016 New Balance 5th Avenue Mile. 

Kyle Merber (far right) kicks it into high gear at the start of the 2016 New Balance 5th Avenue Mile. 

80th – Here I am. It’s the New Balance 5th Avenue Mile and year four of running this historic race. Look at this field. I hope I beat at least a couple of guys. I don’t belong here… Wait, yes I do. This is my town. I got this. I am on my home turf. Let’s take this thing.

79th – Ok, there are a lot fewer cars than I am used to here. No cabs. Just open road. All for us. What was my game plan?

78th – Not really sure if this is the right pace or not, but I think I will just trust everyone else on this and sit back here—for now. Let them do the work. Wow, there are a lot of us. Thankfully this isn’t on a track. 

77th – I need to remember to look down every now and then and watch my footing. But obviously I need to look up, too. Can’t let anyone get away. I actually feel pretty good. How many blocks left?

76th – I wonder why there is no 4th Avenue in the city? What’s the fastest possible mile course you could set up in Manhattan? Am I supposed to be concentrating?

75th – That’s a quarter-mile down! That was pretty quick, but not going to lie, thought we were going a little faster. Are we starting to go uphill? 

74th – My old doctor’s office is over there. Remember that freak injury in college that I thought would be the end of my running career? Thanks, doc!

73rd – A couple of these guys are starting to hurt. Better go around them. I would say I don’t feel any better, but I don’t feel any worse. If I just try my best, no one can get mad at me. 

72nd – Should I go for the halfway bonus? Oh man, Coach Gags would be so mad at me if I went for it. Maybe if I take off now... 

After racing the 2016 New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, Kyle Merber goes on to place third at the 2016 Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K. 

After racing the 2016 New Balance 5th Avenue Mile, Kyle Merber goes on to place third at the 2016 Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K. 

71st – And they’re sprinting. Wow! Things are starting to really open up now. We are spreading out. The race is beginning!

70th – Really glad I did not go for that halfway bonus. Those guys were a couple seconds ahead, but they’re going to come back. I know how this thing works.

69th – Let’s ride this downhill. Opening up the stride now, but let’s stay on the toes and lean into it. Wish I had a Citi Bike. 

68th – The finish—it’s right there. I can see it. Should I kick now? NO! It’s just an optical illusion. Don’t fall for it, Kyle!

67th – Am I going to sing karaoke tonight at the after-party? I always do "Total Eclipse of the Heart" and probably should keep that going, for the fans…

66th – That’s a move right there. Let’s cover this thing. I feel good. BELIEVE! I can run with these guys. Think of all that work.

65th – 400 meters to go. Think of the track. Just once around. Visualize it. Build into it. Follow and cover.

64th – The pack is thinning and there’s just a few left. Focus on form here. Think of the arms and keep the strides short and powerful. 

63rd – The finish is right there. It’s coming up quick. Save one gear. 

62nd – I can hear Coach Gags yelling at me. You can always hear your coach’s voice. And he’s screaming, "Hit it!" 

61st – Am I hitting it hard enough? Hold it together. It’s right there! AHHHHHHHH IT HURTS!!!! SO MUCH!!!

60th – Lean! Lean! Lean! Did I get it?

Check out our coverage of the 2017 New Balance 5th Avenue Mile.

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