Honeymooning Smith sets sights on Japan

FRED WOODCOCK
Last updated 05:00 06/11/2012
Kim Smith
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MARATHON WOMAN: Kiwi Olympian Kim Smith has finished sixth in the Yokohama Marathon in Japan after cutting her honeymoon short to race.

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Kim Smith is off on her honeymoon but she has packed her running shoes.

New Zealand's leading marathon runner was supposed to be leaving New York today bound for a relaxing, run-free holiday in Hawaii with her husband of two months, Pat Tarpy.

But with the New York City Marathon, scheduled for yesterday, having been cancelled in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Rhode Island-based Kiwi is instead hoping to get a start at the Yokohama Marathon in Japan on November 18.

So training will be the name of the game in Hawaii.

"You train hard and a lot of work goes in, so you want to get a good race out of it," the 30-year-old said from New York yesterday.

"The honeymoon is going to be more of a training trip halfway to Japan. It's a little disappointing, but obviously nobody knew this was going to happen. Plans change; you've just got to roll with the punches and hopefully I have a good one in two weeks' time and make up for this."

Elite marathon runners might do only two marathons a year - perhaps three in an Olympics year - and rely on prizemoney and appearance fees as well as sponsorship (Smith has a contract with Reebok) to earn a crust.

The New York men's and women's winners were to receive US$130,000 (NZ$157,000) this year. At this stage, there is uncertainty whether appearance fees will be paid in full.

Smith, who finished fifth in the world's biggest annual marathon in 2010 and 2011, could not say what her fee was.

It's understood the very best runners in the world would be in the six-figure range.

"A lot of the elite runners are trying to run another marathon now," she said.

"The New York Marathon is a lot of people's income and livelihood for six months and with appearance fees and stuff like that, there is a lot of money involved."

Smith also felt for the thousands of amateur runners who had gathered from across the world after being told the race would go ahead, only to have it canned after officials eventually bowed to intense public pressure.

"I understand that New York is a bit of a mess right now and there are a lot of horrible things going on, so I understand why it was cancelled, but at the same time it's still disappointing to not be running," she said.

"They [organisers] thought it was possible to go on, but as it got closer they realised it wasn't. People were pretty angry in certain parts of New York."

Smith, who was a disappointing 15th in the wet at the London Olympics, last month earned US$100,000 for winning a three-race distance medley series in Boston. 

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