American Hall, NZ's Smith set Boston marathon pace

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 18, 2011 11:07 AM

BOSTON (Reuters) - American Ryan Hall set a fast early pace in the 115th Boston Marathon on Monday, looking to become the first U.S. runner to win the race in 28 years.

Hall was expected to face stiff competition from Kenya's Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, who set the Boston course record in 2010. Eleven men were in the lead pack early.

Conditions were perfect for the elite runners to go for course records, with temperatures at the start in the high 40s and a brisk tailwind.

In the women's race, New Zealand's Kim Smith -- who lives and trains locally in Providence, Rhode Island -- opened up a one-minute lead on the pack in the first half of the race.

She was running at a pace not seen at Boston for over a decade.

Smith has said that she did not want to feel boxed in by a leisurely start and they get out-kicked by the many fast African runners, including the 2010 winner Teyba Erkesso of Ethiopia.

In the men's wheelchair division, Japanese athlete Masazumi Soejima, 36, upset nine-time winner Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa. Soejima also won in 2007.

Officials said almost 27,000 runners were entered in this year's race. The women runners set off at 9:32 a.m. and the men set off at 10 a.m. (ET).

(Writing by Ros Krasny. Editing by Peter Bohan)