Athletics: Smith sets records in half marathon win

By Murray McKinnon

Kimberley Smith. Photo / Richard Robinson
Kimberley Smith. Photo / Richard Robinson

New Zealand long distance runner Kimberley Smith was in record-breaking form in winning the Philadelphia half marathon yesterday.

Smith broke her New Zealand half marathon record by 25 seconds and smashed her New Zealand 20km record en route to the finish of the 21.1km race.

In finishing 39th overall, the 29-year-old recorded the 12th fastest all-time women's performance of 1h 7m 11s. Only six women have run faster.

She also carved 2m 8s off her national 20km record set in Birmingham two years ago.

Her previous national half marathon record of 1h 7m 36s was set in New Orleans in February.

Smith also set US all-comers' records for the half marathon, 10 miles (51m 4s) and 20km.

Ethiopian runners were next to finish behind Smith, with 2003 world cross-country champion Werknesh Kidane recording 1h 7m 26s and Deba Bizunesh 1h 9m 53s.

It was a great comeback for Smith after her disappointment in the Boston marathon in April where she was forced to pull out with a torn calf muscle after holding a huge lead after 10 miles.

Smith said that she needed this victory for motivation.

"I knew I was running fast, but I wasn't sure what my times were translating to - history it turned out."

Smith and Kidane ran together until the final mile - where Smith took the lead. Kidane was unable to sustain Smith's pace.

"I wore her down - she was tough - to beat her is something - she's a world champion," said Smith.

Meanwhile, Valerie Adams won her last shot put competition of the season with a throw of 20.59m at a meeting in Bad Kostritz, Germany.

Adams said it was a great finish to the year and she was happy with the performance and that her overall average for 2011 was way above any other year in her career.

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