Athletics: Smith sets sights on New York

Kimberley Smith was disappointed with her 15th place at the London Olympic Games. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Kimberley Smith was disappointed with her 15th place at the London Olympic Games. Photo / Mark Mitchell

New Zealand runner Kimberley Smith will be out to improve on fifth place in the New York marathon which is still expected to take place this Sunday despite the City being ravaged by superstorm Sandy.

The 30-year-old Rhode Island based athlete has finished fifth in the last two years, running 2h 25m 46s last year, nearly four minutes faster than her time in 2010.

However time is not a factor for Smith this year.

"With New York being such a tough course it is hard to predict a time. It's often a tactical race so I'm not focused on time and am more focused on place," said Smith.

At the London Olympic Games Smith was disappointed with her 15th place in 2h 26m 59s, but she bounced back to win the Boston half marathon and the series prize purse, collecting $US100,000.

Smith recently married partner Pat Tarpy as well.

"My training has gone well. I thought it might be tough to recover after the Olympics in time for the BAA half and New York but my recovery went well and workouts have been good. It's definitely not as long of a build up as I've had in the past but I have got a lot of hard work in and feel pretty good. After a disappointing Olympics it was nice to have a big focus like the NYC marathon so I didn't dwell on my Olympic race too much," added Smith.

The women's field is extremely competitive with London Olympic marathon gold medallist Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia and Games bronze medallist Tatyana Arkhipova of Russia racing. Gelana, who set an Olympic record of 2h 23m 7s, will be running her first New York marathon and comes into the race with a personal best time of 2h 18m 58s run in Rotterdam in April. Arkhipova is also having her first outing in New York and her time of 2h 23m 29s at the Olympics is her best.

Race organisers are hopeful that the race will still take place. While the course through the five boroughs mostly avoids high-risk flood areas, transportation appears to be a major issue, with nearly 20,000 international runners needing to get into the country and another 30,000 American participants having to find their way to the Staten Island starting line. In addition, family and friends of the runners will be seeking to get to their viewing spots and the finish line.

- nzherald.co.nz

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