Huddle, Smith to Race in New York in November

Huddle, Smith to Race in New York in November

American and New Zealand 5000m record holders Molly Huddle and Kim Smith announced that they would both be racing on the weekend of the ING New York City Marathon in November, but in different events. Huddle, 26, will run a new 5-K road race held on Saturday, Nov. 5, while Smith, 29, will run the ING New York City Marathon the following day.

The training partners, who were here today to join 2000 schoolchildren at the New York Road Runners' National Running Day celebration at Ichan Stadium, said they were very motivated to compete in New York. They appeared to have earned a few more local fans after competing on opposing elementary school teams in a tug-of-war (Smith's team won), passing out finisher awards after the half-mile race, and holding the finish tape for the invitational one-mile run.

"It will be my third time attending the marathon, and it is always a very dramatic and exciting weekend, so I can't wait to see what happens in 2011," said Huddle through a statement. She continued: "I can't wait to come back to New York to be, in a small way, part of the marathon festivities. Hopefully someday I will be adding to that distance on the streets of NYC!"

Smith, who said she is almost fully recovered from the torn soleus muscle which forced her to drop out of last April's Boston Marathon after leading the race for 17 miles, will actually be racing twice in New York this year. A week from Saturday, she will be running the 40th NYRR Mini 10-K before coming back in November to run the marathon for the third time.

"I can't wait to step on the line in November for the ING New York City Marathon," said Smith in prepared remarks. "I want to put my Boston Marathon experience behind me and I hope to do that in New York. Marathon weekend in New York is so exciting and it is a lot of fun to be part of the buzz."

The New Zealand record holder for the marathon with a 2:25:21 personal best, Smith has run the marathon here twice before. In her debut at the distance in 2008, she was forced to drop out at 30-K due to a sore throat. Last year, she finished fifth despite making a toilet stop on the Queensborough Bridge near the 25-K mark which cost her nearly a minute. She ran her national marathon record in London in 2010.

Huddle and Smith, who live about a kilometer apart in Providence, R.I., do many of their runs together under the direction of coach Ray Treacy. The women are very close friends, both are fraternal twins, and Smith attended Huddle's wedding to Canadian miler Kurt Benninger. On a warm and muggy morning here today, the pair did a 15-mile long run in Central Park before heading to the stadium where New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg was there to welcome them.

"It's great to have two of the best women athletes in the world here today to celebrate National Running Day," said Wittenberg, a 1988 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier. "Both Kim and Molly are young at heart and full of athletic potential. Their best remains in front of them, and that's so exciting for all these kids here with us today."

Huddle is the first athlete to be announced for the new NYRR 5, an event which will feature a professional athlete field and prize money, NYRR officials said. Smith is the third athlete Wittenberg has announced for the professional field at the ING New York City Marathon. She will face defending ING New York City Marathon champion Edna Kiplagat of Kenya, and three-time American Olympian Jen Rhines, who have also been announced. Wittenberg was clearly excited about their participation.

"We are thrilled they will be both be headlining major NYRR events this year," she concluded.

By David Monti (c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved; Used with permission

(Photo courtesy of New York Road Runners)