6 Aug 2012

Ethiopia wins marathon gold, NZer places 15th

4:59 am on 6 August 2012

New Zealander Kimberley Smith has finished 15th in the marathon at the London Olympics.

The race was won by Tiki Gelana of Ethiopia in an Olympic record time of 2:23:07.

Kenya's Priscah Jeptoo won the silver medal and Tatyana Petrova Arkhipova of Russia ran a personal best time to take the bronze.

While Smith's performance was credible, with 118 athletes on the start list, Smith says she was aiming for a top six finish and is not entirely happy with how her day panned out.

The runners started the race in heavy rain and had to cope with slippery conditions - particularly over the cobblestone section of the course.

Smith, who is ranked 18th in the world, ran with the leaders until about the halfway point, where she was in 12th place, but slowed on the homeward journey, dropping a few places.

She says she found the course pretty difficult, with some of the tight turns surprising her.

Smith finished in a time of 2:26:59, about one minute outside her best marathon time.

Ahead of the race, she said the flat course would suit her and her training had gone well.

Smith competed at the 2004 Athens Olympics in the 10,000m and in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 5000m and 10,000m.