MANCHESTER—Last year, Amy Rudolph was part of the pack chasing Kim Smith at the Manchester Road Race and ended up finishing second.
Thursday, Rudolph - a five-time winner - had an easier gig. She listened on the race radio and commented as Smith charged to the lead in the first mile and won the women's division of the 4.748-mile race for the second consecutive year in 24:23.
"It's awesome," said Rudolph, who opted not to run because illness curtailed her training. "I've been to some of her workouts. She's in great shape. It's a nice way to end the season for her."
Smith, 24, of New Zealand, trains with a group of women at Providence College that includes Rudolph, runner-up Mary Cullen of Ireland (25:00) and seventh-place finisher Roisin McGettigan of Ireland (26:18).
"I went pretty hard the first mile and relaxed after that," said Smith, who won the NCAA cross country championship only a few days before the road race last year.
Cullen, a Providence College senior, ran the race for the first time.
"The uphill was pretty tough," said Cullen, 23. "I felt better the second half of the race.
"I could see [Smith] ahead of me. I knew it was Kim Smith and she's amazing, and I wasn't going to catch her."
Amy Mortimer of West Roxbury, Mass., finished fourth (25:38), the same place she finished last year. She was third at the top of the hill, but Tetyana Hladyr of Russia passed her down the hill and finished third (25:30).
"It was a little cold, a little rough on my asthma," said Mortimer, 24. "I could see [Smith] for a while, but she's pretty amazing."
Emilie Mondor of Canada, the course record holder (23:59, 2003), dropped out for the second year in a row because of an ankle injury. Mondor, 24, was bothered by shin pain before the race, but her right ankle swelled up and she had to stop running after 3 miles.
She apologized profusely to one of the race directors, Dave Prindiville, at the awards ceremony.
"It started in the shin and then it went to the ankle," Mondor said. "I love that race. I worked so hard getting ready for that. They stopped me at 3 miles."
Shannon Hovey of Simsbury was the first state finisher (11th, 27:55).