NEW ORLEANS, LA – February, 13, 2010 – Kim Smith of New Zealand set a pending U.S. All-Comers record in the half marathon today, clocking 1 hour, 7 minutes and 36 seconds at the second Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras Marathon & Half-Marathon benefiting the American Cancer Society. The 29-year-old ran away from the rest of the women’s field in the opening mile and was never challenged on her way to setting a 19-second personal best and shattering her national record for the 13.1-mile distance.
“My goal was to run a little bit slower because my coach didn’t want me to push it too hard,” said Smith, who finished sixth overall. “But I felt good out there. I’m training for the Boston Marathon so I’m in pretty heavy training at the moment so I didn’t think I would run this fast. I’m pretty happy after the heavy training week to run like that.”
Smith, who finished runner-up at the New Orleans event in 2010, eclipsed the previous mark of 1:07:44 set by Ethiopian Meseret Defar at the ING Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon last September. She said she will take some time this week to focus on recovery before gearing up to run Boston in April.
“At this time last year it was only my second half-marathon I’d ever done, so now I’m a little more experienced having done two marathons. It’s getting easier to do these longer races,” she added. “For this spring, the big goal is to win Boston. It’s only 45 minutes from where I live in Providence (Rhode Island), so it’s a home course for me now.”
Molly Pritz of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project in Rochester, Michigan finished second in 1:11:05, taking a minute and nine seconds off her previous personal best. Woynishet Gima Tafa of Ethiopia was third in 1:12:08. Also qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials was Pritz’s teammate Melissa White, who finished in fourth place with a time of 1:13:53.
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