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Kiwi distance runner Smith retires

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 22/02/2017
Kim Smith. © AP Photo/Michael Dwyer Kim Smith.

Multiple New Zealand distance running record-holder Kim Smith has announced her retirement from the sport following a frustrating battle with injury.

Triple Olympian Smith, who hangs up her shoes as a Kiwi great at age 35, failed to capture her best form after undergoing foot surgery in 2014, having ruptured a tendon.

"My feet have never been the same, I just can't do what I want to," Smith said.

"Mentally it was very hard to race poorly. It was just not enjoyable any more."

Smith is four months pregnant with her second child, making the decision easier.

She retires as the owner of 12 New Zealand indoor and outdoor records ranging from 3000m to the marathon.

Born and raised in Auckland, Smith emerged as a gifted college athlete and shifted to the US collegiate system in 2001 and stood out with a string of NCAA victories for Providence College near Boston.

She set national indoor records for the mile and 3000m before qualifying for her first Olympics, at Athens in 2004.

One of Smith's finest results was a fifth placing in the 10,000m at the 2007 world championships in Osaka.

She was eighth over the same distance at the following year's Olympics in Beijing.

At London 2012 she was 14th, a disappointing result given her form over the longer distance.

Smith remains bitter she was at the peak of her powers in the late-2000s, at a time when she says doping was endemic in athletics.

"It is hard to look at the results and see that people ahead of me have been caught for drugs and that some of the best years of my career were during pretty dirty years for the sport," she said.

"It is sad to look back on those years and say that. I just tried to finish as high up as I could, but I definitely wonder how much higher up the field I could have finished without the cheating."

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