Tom Byers, noted more for his work as a "rabbit" than for his fast times on the track, outkicked American record holder Steve Scott and won the second Fifth Avenue Mile in the relatively slow time of 3 minutes 51.35 seconds in New York City yesterday.

Byers hung with the leaders for most of the race before making his move down the stretch, outsprinting Scott, the favorite, to the finish line.

Byers, a relatively unheralded runner who beat Britain's Steve Ovett in Oslo last year, was injured early this season and did not race until about 3 1/2 weeks ago.

"I stayed behind some key individuals," said Byers. "The strategy was to hang back and kick and see what happens. It was an all-out effort."

Scott finished second in 3:51.54 and New Zealander John Walker, a former world record holder, was third in 3:51.97.

Before the men's race, Debbie Scott of Canada pulled away in the second half of the race and scored a surprisingly easy victory in the women's event in 4:23.96. Wendy Smith of Britain finished second in 4:25.62 . . .

In Athens, Greece, meanwhile, the congress of the International Amateur Athletic Federation gave qualified approval to appearance money for top track and field performers.

Provided his national federation agrees, an athlete will be allowed to compete in a limited number of invitation meets sanctioned by the IAAF, and be paid for doing so. The money will go to the athlete's national federation and be held in trust for him. Once he draws on it, his amateur career is finished. . . .

In Charleston, W. Va., Terry Baker of Hagerstown, Md., pulled away from David Olds of Pittsburgh at the 12-mile mark and won the 15-mile Charleston Distance Run for the second year in a row. Baker won in a record time of 1 hour 14 minutes 15 seconds, which is 1 minute 28 seconds better than his mark last year.