There were only two ways a runner in the Mercedes Mile on Fifth Avenue could earn a new car - win the race for at least the second time or break the course record.

Both ways yielded new cars to the winners on Saturday.Britain's Peter Elliott became the first three-time winner in the race's 10-year history, taking the men's title in 3 minutes, 47.83 seconds, the second-fastest clocking in the event's history.

PattiSue Plumer, the only American in the field, won the women's race in 4:16.68, the fastest ever by a woman.

Both Elliott and Plumer will receive a new Mercedes, each worth $34,000. Elliott, who also won a car last year, eventually sold it to British sprinter Linford Christie. He said he was uncertain what he would do with this year's car.

Locally . . .