Athletics: Big payday for Kim Smith

New Zealand Olympian Kim Smith has cashed in once again after claiming the US$100,000 ($121,700) prize for victory in the Boston Athletic Association Distance Medley a second year running.

Smith completed the medley win by asserted her dominance at the Boston Athletic Association Half Marathon, leading from start to finish to claim victory in a course record time of 1:09:14 this morning.

Running in her first race since June's B.A.A. 10K, Smith came into today's event holding a one minute, eleven second advantage in the B.A.A. Distance Medley standings, having won the 5km race and placed second in the 10 km. Knowing she would have to push the pace for her chance at the grand prize, the 31-year-old kept her foot on the gas pedal, leading every step of the early stages.

"It's really cool!" Smith said moments after breaking the finish tape, who had both her parents from New Zealand and her in-laws from Maine present to watch her run.

Shortly after the start in Boston's Franklin Park, Smith found herself out front with Ethiopia's Aheza Kiros and Kenya's Alice Kimutai tagging alongside. The three passed five km in 15:52.

"I just tried to set a pretty decent pace and drop them," Smith said. "The first 10K was pretty fast."

Together through 10 kilometers in 31:48.7, it appeared Smith and Kiros would race neck-and-neck through the final half of the contest. But moments later, Smith put any thoughts of a duel to rest. Pumping her arms ferociously, the three-time Olympian eased away from Kiros. A five second lead soon became ten seconds, then 30 seconds.

"Once they dropped off I knew they must be tired, and I felt pretty good at that stage. I thought 'I think I got it,'" Smith said.

All by herself, Smith continued to push over the latter stages of the race, through Franklin Park Zoo and into White Stadium with no woman in sight. By then it was clear the previous course record of 1:10:52 would be beaten. The only question was by how much.

The answer wound up being one minute and 38 seconds, as Smith broke the tape with 1:09:14 reading on the clock. Though she easily secured the course record, Smith said it was never on her mind.

"I knew I was running pretty fast going through 10K. I didn't really worry about course records. I just wanted to win," she said. "I was just running and felt pretty good."

Smith's next race will be the New York Marathon on 3 November.

- NZ Herald

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