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Kim Smith to Run ING Hartford Half Marathon

‰ÛÓBob Fitzgerald
 
 
Similar
to 2010, New Zealand Olympian and Providence, RI resident Kim Smith will run
the ING Hartford Marathon on Saturday, Oct. 15 as a final tune-up before what
she hopes will be a redemptive run at the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 6

 

Last
year, Smith ran 1:11:32 to place 8th overall in the ING Hartford Half Marathon
while demolishing the previous women’s mark of 1:15:11 set by Kenya’s Jackline
Torori in 2002. The Bay State’s Heather Cappello, a runner in the “New England’s
Finest” program, arrived second. Like Smith, Cappello is a Providence College
alumnus who also went under the previous women’s course record (in 1:15:04).

 

Two
weeks later in New York, Smith was striding along with the women’s lead pack
when stomach problems forced her to make a pit stop on the Queensboro Bridge
nearing 16 miles and First Avenue. The plan hatched between herself and coach
Ray Treacy was to wait until the end of First Avenue’s long stretch and then
make a move.

 

“It was just unfortunate
what happened to her in New York,” says Treacy. “We had talked as part of the
plan to be relaxed coming off the bridge and onto First Avenue, staying with
the [lead] pack, and then when she got to the top of First Avenue to make her
move. She ended up chasing and making up ground on First Avenue when she should
have been relaxing, and then the break came. She certainly would have been in
the battle for second if that hadn’t happened to her.”

 

Smith would place fifth in
2:29:28. She licked her wounds and moved on. In New Orleans on Feb. 13 of this
year, Smith ran 1:07:36 at the Mardi Gras Half Marathon in preparation for her
Boston Marathon debut. Her time was a North American all comers record.

 

With a ton of speed heading
into Boston, and with Boston’s notoriously fast start, Treacy was asked if he
might caution Smith to go out slowly.

 

“I might not do that,” said
Treacy. In fact, Smith didn’t let the pace dawdle at Boston, seizing the lead
early. She passed halfway in 1:10:52 feeling comfortable and flying solo.
Before she hit the Newton hills, she felt a sharp twinge in her calf. It would
only get worse, forcing her out of the race at 30K with what was later
diagnosed as a torn calf muscle.

 

With frustration mounting,
the systematic build-up to yet another fall marathon attempt began in earnest.
When Smith set the North American all comers record in New Orleans, she had
broken by 8-seconds the record that Olympic gold medalist Meseret Defar had set
in Philadelphia.

 

For her “blow-out” effort
this fall, Smith headed to Philadelphia and on Sept. 18 she hooked up with
Ethiopia’s Werknesh Kidane. The pair separated themselves from the women’s
field with a 4:57 third mile and it wasn’t until the final mile that Smith was
able to break free.

 

The result had Smith
breaking her own North American all comers record in 1:07:10 (5:07 pace). She
credits the breakaway from Kidane to the 400m repeats Treacy has incorporated
into her training.

 

Smith will once again run
Hartford at what she considers “marathon pace” but, in truth, there only a
small percentage of runners on the planet who can maintain Smith’s marathon
pace for half the distance.

 

 

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