Kim Smith is the dark horse, and that is just fine, by Larry Eder

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Kim Smith is the sensational New Zealand runner who is debuting at this year's ING New York City marathon. She has been in the background, but that is just fine, as Ms. Smith lets her feet do most of the talking for her, and her distance crazy country of New Zealand.....

In the annals of global distance running, in the small country of New Zealand has a rich and varied history. It was an eccentric milkman from Auckland, who revolutionized distance running. Arthur Lydiard trained some tough neighborhood kids into gold medalists at 800 meters, 1,500 meters, 5,000 meters and bronze medalist at the marathon. This was in the sixties, and it was less than five years ago that Arthur was stil traveling around the world, extolling the virtues of his training methods.

In the seventies, John Walker, Rod Dixon, Dick Quax and Jack Foster among others gave New Zealanders something to read about in the sports pages. Rod Dixon's amazing win over Goeff Smith in New York in 1983 was a race that many have never forgot, due to the drama.

On the women's side, Allison Roe was one of the top athletes in the world, and a world record holder. Lorraine Moller, brilliant over the track distances, was one of the major moving lights in the women's marathon movement, and capped her career with the superb bronze medal at the Olympic Games!

This past summer, New Zealand's Nick Willis ran a smart and tough race to win the bronze in Beijing. It was only two years ago that he broke John Walkers' 1,500 meter national record, which had held for 31 years!

Now, Kim Smith, a fine middle distance runner, is debuting at ING New York and her debut should be excellent. Smith has run 30:35 for 10,000 meters, achieved last May in Palo Alto against Shalane Flanagan. Smith also has run some memorable races indoors in Boston against the likes of Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar.

Smith is coached by Ray Treacy, her college coach. They are old school. Run hard, run fast, run long, repeat. Their program is completely antithetical to the likes of Kara Goucher, who under Alberto Salazar, uses anti gravity treadmills, water training, and
a complete system of core training besides her road, track and tempo work.

For Kim Smith, it works. In my several interviews with Kim, she has come across honest, straightforward and amazingly relaxed. She is a tough competitor-as tough as they come.

How will she fare in her debut marathon? My guess is that Kim should finish in the top five, running a smart early race, staying back, and as is her want, crushing her competition from behind. This is her first marathon. A 2.24-2.25 time on this course
would be excellent-and is within her reach and fitness.

Just watch though. If the front group beats itself up, about 24 miles, this Kiwi training in Providence, Rhode Island will come into view, churning up the street. Kim Smith is dangerous in a race like this, because, above all else, Ms. Smith knows how to race, and would not be here if she was not well prepared.

Watch for a super debut on Sunday, November 2, 2008.


Runblogrun.com encourages you to check out the sites of Shooting Star Media, Inc.: American Track & Field (www.american-trackandfield.com), Athletes Only (www.atf-athlete.com), California Track & Running News (www.caltrack.com), MIssouri Runner & Triathlete (www.morunandtri.com), Latinos Corriendo(www.latinoscorriendo.com), Coaching
Athletics Quarterly (www.coachingathleticsq.com), and USATF Fast Forward (www.usatf.org). All of the above magazine websites can be found at RunningNetwork.com (www.runningnetwork.com).

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