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Kim Smith In The Hunt For Second B.A.A. Medley Crown

The Kiwi is confident heading into Sunday's half marathon.

The Kiwi is confident heading into Sunday’s half marathon.
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

This Sunday at the B.A.A. Half-Marathon in Boston, Kim Smith has a chance to retain her B.A.A. Distance Medley crown, a title that would earn her a hefty $100,000 payday, the largest non-marathon prize in road racing. For the 31-year-old native of New Zealand, the opportunity to win the series and it’s large purse almost never happened.

In its second year, the B.A.A. Distance Medley awards $100,000 to one man and one woman with the lowest cumulative time from the B.A.A. 5K (April), B.A.A. 10K (June), and B.A.A. Half Marathon (October). After a 15:16 win at the B.A.A. 5K, Smith entered the 10K two months later with a lot of skepticism. Less than a week before the event, Smith was strongly considering not starting the June 23rd race.

RELATED: Smith, Kiprono Win B.A.A. Half Marathon

“I was really nervous going into the 10K because I had been injured, I hurt my Achilles and was in quite a bit of pain going into the race,” Smith told Race Results Weekly in September. “Some of the other top runners were also having some injury problems and they didn’t even make it to the start line. I was close to that for me, I thought about dropping out the week before but decided I might as well give it a go since I live 50 minutes away.”

Unsure if she’d be able to finish, the Proividence-based Smith muscled through the 10K to take second in 33:32. She was only beaten by Mamitu Daska, who was not taking part in the Distance Medley series.

“I guess it worked out in the end because I extended my lead a bit which was pretty surprising for me for how I was feeling,” she said with a laugh.

Entering Sunday’s B.A.A. Half Marathon, Smith holds a comfortable, one-minute, eleven-second advantage on Kenya’s Millicent Kuria. Now healthy, the Providence College alum is anxious to get back to racing and her chance at $100,000.

“I just want to race as hard as I can to win. I am really happy I have that lead,” she said. “Now I’m feeling a lot better and a lot more confident going into the half marathon, probably a little bit more confident than last year. Everything worked out in the end.”

In 2012, Smith separated from Ethiopia’s Aheza Kiros in the latter stages of the race, going on to win in 1:10:57. Her mark was just five seconds shy of Caroline Rotich’s 1:10:52 course record, set in 2010.

This year, Smith hopes to successfully defend both the half-marathon and Distance Medley titles.

“Anytime you can win it’s a big deal,” said Smith, who represents New Balance. “One of my aims for the year was to do that in the series. I’ve been putting a lot of hard work in to it so hopefully it pays off!”