Kim Smith clocks a 1:07:11 U.S. All-comers record in Philadelphia (Victah Sailer) © Copyright
General News New York, USA

Hall and Smith New York-bound

Olympians Ryan Hall of the U.S. and Kim Smith of New Zealand are the first big name announcements for this year's ING New York City Marathon, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race set for Sunday 4 November.

Hall, 29, of Big Bear Lake, California, will be running the New York City Marathon for the second time, after finishing fourth in 2009 in 2:10:36. In January, he qualified for his second Olympic Games at the Marathon Trials. He won the 2008 Trials in New York City in November 2007 and went on to finish 10th in the 2008 Beijing Games. At the 2011 Boston Marathon, Hall took fourth place in a time of 2:04:58, the fastest ever run by an American any any conditions. In 2007, he became the only American to have broken the one-hour barrier in the Half Marathon when he ran 59:43 to win the Aramco Houston Half Marathon. In addition to the Olympic Trials, Hall found success in New York when he won the 2006 USA Cross Country Championships 12K, and also in his first appearance in the NYC Half in 2009, when he finished third.

"I couldn’t be more excited to return to the ING New York City Marathon," said Hall. "Having raced the 2009 edition, I have fond memories of the excitement of racing through the five boroughs with the best marathoners in the world. I’ve always said that racing in New York is performing on the big stage."

Smith, 30, a native of Auckland who now lives in Providence, Rhode Island, will be making her fourth New York Marathon appearance: after dropping out because of illness in 2008, she placed fifth in both 2010 and 2011. Smith recently finished second in the NYC Half 2012 in a time 1:08:43, after leading eventual winner Firehiwot Dado nearly the entire race. She broke her own record for the fastest-ever Half Marathon by a woman on U.S. soil when she won the 2011 Rock ’n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon in 1:07:11. Smith holds 12 New Zealand records at distances from the Mile to the Marathon.

"I’m really looking forward to being part of the ING New York City Marathon again this year," said Smith. "I feel like a regular now at NYRR events, and coming back to race in New York is always an amazing experience. I’m excited about being at Marathon Opening Day this year for the 2012 ING New York City Marathon. To be part of the start of all the excitement, anticipation, and hype of the marathon is inspiring."

The Marathon Opening Day is the official kick off of the race in The Big Apple. Watched live on local television and on the New York Road Runners website, the half-hour show was broadcast mere steps from the renowned marathon course and hosted by ABC7 lead sports anchor Rob Powers and Olympian Carrie Tollefson.

"Marathon Opening Day has become our annual launch to marathon season in New York—a real 'starting line’ celebration for the most global marathon," said New York Road Runners president and CEO Mary Wittenberg. "As the people’s Olympics, it’s fitting that we have Olympic stars Ryan and Kim here - our first pro athletes in the race—to join us in today’s festivities."

Organisers for the IAAF