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Kim Smith Runs Fastest Half Marathon on U.S. Soil at Rock 'n' Roll Mardi Gras

02/14/2011 - 11:03

Smith_KimFV-MardiGras11.jpgNew Zealand Olympian runs 1:07:36 to eclipse Meseret Defar’s U.S. All-Comers mark by 8 seconds - NEW ORLEANS, LA – February, 13, 2010 – Kim Smith of New Zealand set a pending U.S. All-Comers record in the half marathon today, clocking 1 hour, 7 minutes and 36 seconds at the second Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras Marathon & Half-Marathon benefiting the American Cancer Society. The 29-year-old ran away from the rest of the women’s field in the opening mile and was never challenged on her way to setting a 19-second personal best and shattering her national record for the 13.1-mile distance.

“My goal was to run a little bit slower because my coach didn’t want me to push it too hard,” said Smith, who finished sixth overall. “But I felt good out there. I’m training for the Boston Marathon so I’m in pretty heavy training at the moment so I didn’t think I would run this fast. I’m pretty happy after the heavy training week to run like that.”

Smith, who finished runner-up at the New Orleans event in 2010, eclipsed the previous mark of 1:07:44 set by Ethiopian Meseret Defar at the ING Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon last September. She said she will take some time this week to focus on recovery before gearing up to run Boston in April.

“At this time last year it was only my second half-marathon I’d ever done, so now I’m a little more experienced having done two marathons. It’s getting easier to do these longer races,” she added. “For this spring, the big goal is to win Boston. It’s only 45 minutes from where I live in Providence (Rhode Island), so it’s a home course for me now.”

Molly Pritz of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project in Rochester, Michigan finished second in 1:11:05, taking a minute and nine seconds off her previous personal best. Woynishet Gima Tafa of Ethiopia was third in 1:12:08. Also qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials was Pritz’s teammate Melissa White, who finished in fourth place with a time of 1:13:53.

The men’s race was a much tighter affair as former University of Arkansas all-American Josphat Boit of Kenya broke the tape in 1:03:57, one second ahead of the hard-charging Luke Humphries from the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. Humphries’ teammate, Tim Young, finished third in 1:04:22.

Boit, running his second half-marathon, took off from the sound of the starter’s pistol and was joined by countryman Elkanah Kibet (4th, 1:04:24) through 10K, splitting 30:26. Humphries, meanwhile, bode his time in the chase pack for the first half of the race before surging to the lead at mile 8 (39:16) and turning it into a two-man contest between he and Boit. The duo battled all the way to the finish at City Park, until the final straightaway when The duo battled all the way to the finish at City Park, until the final straightaway when Boit pushed ahead.

“That was a surprise,” Boit said of Humphries taking the lead. “The race started from there. The win was the goal and the time will take care of itself.”

Humphries, whose main objective going into the race was to help teammates Young and Sage Canaday (5th, 1:04:32) stay on pace for a U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying time of under 1 hour and 5 minutes, did a commendable job fulfilling those duties on his way to a runner-up finish and a 15-second personal best.

“After 4 miles the gap just stayed the same so I thought ‘I’m just gonna go after it and try to get to them’,” said Humphries, who will run the Dodge Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon in June. “We kept rolling and got to 12 miles and kind of looked at each other like who’s going to make the first move and that was it.”

In the accompanying marathon, it was C. Fred Joslyn of Syracuse, NY who dominated the race, crossing the finish line in 2:18:48 to win easily over second-place finisher Kevin Castille of Lafayette, Louisiana, who ran 2:26:16. Four-time Mardi Gras Marathon champion Meyer Freidman was third in 2:27:55.

Joslyn was in a pack of three which included Castille and Seamus Nally, through halfway in 1:09:03. The trio ran together through 18 miles when Joslyn was able to get some space heading up a slight rise coming out of an underpass. He ran solo the rest of the way to the finish line.

“It was a great race out there,” said Joslyn, who won his first marathon and qualified for next year’s Olympic Trials in Houston, TX. “I had a lot of fun. The three of us had a great pack and had a strong pace going.”

Joasia Zakrzewski won the women’s race in 2:47:24, a personal best by over 14 minutes. New Zealand’s Karen Lockyer finished second in 2:52:26, with Louisiana resident Beth Woodward rounding out the top-3 with a time of 3:02:55.

Competing in near ideal conditions, cool temperatures greeted nearly 17,000 entrants at the start line. Participating in his second consecutive Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras Half Marathon was New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

“That day was gorgeous, the weather was perfect and the route was really spectacular,” said Landrieu. “We ran though uptown New Orleans, back down Magazine Street, on St. Charles, through the French Quarter and then we hit historic Esplanade Avenue, into City Park with the New Orleans Museum of Art was amazing, but having said all that my favorite sight of the day was the finish line.”

Landrieu was joined by his sister-in-law and special assistant for economic development, Aimee Quirk; Mary Beth Romig, the city's director of public relations and special projects; Freddy Kullman, one of the Landrieu's administrative aides; and Dr. Karen DeSalvo, the city's health commissioner. On Saturday DeSalvo joined Dr. Andy Baldwin, ABC's “The Bachelor,” at the finish line of the first ever ING KiDS ROCK Mardi Gras, where more than 1,000 kids participated in a one-mile run. Baldwin also competed in the half-marathon on behalf of ING Run For Something Better.

More than 400 charity runners raised approximately $700,000 through the event, which benefited the American Cancer Society. For additional information, results and more visit

Photos (Credit:

C. Fred Joslyn, Men’s Marathon Champion

Kim Smith, Women’s Half Marathon Champion

Kim Smith, Women’s Half Marathon Champion

Results – 2011 Rock ‘n’ Roll Mardi Gras

New Orleans, LA – February 13, 2011

Half Marathon – Men

Pl, Name, Age, Country, Time

1. Josphat Boit, 26, Kenya, 1:03:57

2. Luke Humphrey, 29, USA, 1:03:58

3. Tim Young, 23, USA, 1:04:22

Half Marathon-Women

Pl, Name, Age, Country, Time

1. Kim Smith, 29, New Zealand, 1:07:36**

2. Molly Pritz, 22, USA, 1:11:05

3. Woynishet Gima Tafa, 25, Ethiopia, 1:12:08

**Set pending U.S. all-comers record (fastest women’s half-marathon on U.S. soil)

Full Marathon - Men

Pl, Name, Age, Hometown, Time

1. C. Fred Joslyn, 27, E. Syracuse, NY, 2:18:49

2. Kevin Castille, 38, Lafayette, LA, 2:26:17

3. Meyer Freidman, 31, San Diego, CA, 2:27:56

Full Marathon – Women

Pl, Name, Age, Hometown, Time

1. Joasia Zakrzewski, 35, United Kingdom, 2:47:25

2. Karen Lockyer, 33, Lafayette, LA, 2:52:27

3. Beth Woodward, 35, Orrville, OH, 3:02:56



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