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New Zealand distance running record holder Kimberley Smith will tackle the New York marathon on Sunday.
In a star studded field, where Smith is one of 13 women who have broken 2h 30m for the 42.2km distance, the 2004 and 2008 Olympian will be aiming for as higher placing as possible.
“The aim for New York is to place as high as possible. Time is not really important at all in New York as its such a tough course, so I have no time goal,” said Smith.
In the London Marathon in April Smith set a New Zealand record of 2h 25m 21s in finishing eighth. She also holds the New Zealand record for 3km, 5km, 10km and half marathon.
Smith, who is two weeks off her 29th birthday, is pleased with her training leading up to the race.
“Training has gone well, I didn’t have any interruptions in the cycle so everything seems on track.
“It’s hard to know what to expect from the race, as the marathon is still pretty new for me. I don’t have the same bench marks that I do for the 5km or 10km, so it’s hard for me to gauge my fitness as much as I can for the shorter races, but I’m happy with how the training has gone,” said Smith.
Her last major race on the road was in the Philadelphia half marathon where she finished fifth in 1h 8m 39s.
The leading ranked runner in the field is Inga Abitova of Russia, who was second in the 2010 London marathon in a personal best by three minutes of 2h 22m 19s.
Fastest runner entered is Lyudmila Petrova of Russia with 2h 21m 29s from London in 2006. Petrova is the masters marathon world record holder and she won in New York in 2000. Madai Perez of Mexico has a best of 2h 22m 59s and was third in the recent New York half marathon. Edna Kiplagat of Kenya has a best of 2h 25m 38s achieved in winning this year’s Los Angeles marathon.
Shalane Flanagan of United States is one of four leading runners who are making New York their marathon debut.
World record holder over the marathon Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia will be running New York for the first time. The 37 year old set the world’s best time of 2h 3m 59s in Berlin two years ago.
Gebrselassie said that he can’t go through his career without running at New York.
“If you are a marathoner and someone asks you if you have run New York and you say no, that’s unimaginable,” he said.
“My career would not be complete.”
Gebrselassie believes the New York race record of 2h 7m 43s is achievable.