Caroline Wozniacki breaks 3:30 in New York Marathon

Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki
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NEW YORK — Caroline Wozniacki said she partied until 4 a.m. three days before her first marathon, didn’t run more than 13.1 miles in training and spent Saturday night eating popcorn with Serena Williams at a hockey game.

“I’ve done everything you’re not supposed to do before a marathon,” she joked.

Then she ran the New York City Marathon in 3 hours, 26 minutes, 33 seconds.

Wozniacki beat her goal and achieved a qualifying standard for the Boston Marathon on Sunday. She did so after missing breakfast before going to the start in Staten Island, though she grabbed two bagels in a tent.

Wozniacki said her goal when she signed up for the marathon, after boyfriend Rory McIlroy called off their planned November wedding, was to beat four hours. She felt so good in training, despite skipping a planned long run due to tennis commitments, that she hoped to beat 3:30.

“Somewhere in between 3:45 and 3:30 was my goal,” she said after finishing Sunday afternoon. “I’m really proud.”

Wozniacki met her good friend Williams at the finish in Central Park. They embraced two months after Williams swept Wozniacki in the U.S. Open final in Queens.

“I thought I was gonna die,” Wozniacki said shortly after she completed 26.2 miles.

That was a drastic change from early in the race, when she was ripping off sub-8-minute miles. About nine miles in, Wozniacki told the two pacers running with her that she wanted to run another marathon.

She changed her tune as she went through the five boroughs, hitting a wall around the 20-mile mark.

“I’m never running another marathon again,” Wozniacki thought with six miles to go.

Wozniacki said she won’t run Boston next year, despite the qualifying time, but she wants to run another marathon “at some point.”

“I’m going to look back on this experience and say that this was awesome and want to do it again,” she said.

Wozniacki’s splits slowed to 8:20, 8:42 and 8:27 in miles 24, 25 and 26 before she finished shortly around 1:10 p.m. in Central Park. Her time easily beat the Boston Marathon qualifying standard of 3:35 for her age group.

She raised more than $80,000 for her charity, Team for Kids, which supports youth fitness programs. Olympic tennis champions Andy Murray and Williams were among the contributors.

Other tennis players have run the New York City Marathon, but the notables did so after they retired. Wozniacki, 24, is in the middle of her career and finished a tournament in Singapore the previous weekend.

Wozniacki beat three retired tennis professionals’ New York City Marathon times from 2010.

Former world No. 1 Amelie Mauresmo completed the race in 3:40:20. Former French Open champion Yannick Noah did it in 4:01:38, followed by Justin Gimelstob in 4:09:58.

Mauresmo also ran the 2012 Paris Marathon in a reported 3:16:49. Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm ran the 2004 London Marathon in 3:27.

Wozniacki, ranked eighth on the WTA Tour, resumes competitive tennis in Australia this winter. Until then, she’ll take an earned break.

“I deserve to put my feet up a little bit,” she said.

Also Sunday, another Olympian, 2010 U.S. Olympic Nordic combined champion Bill Demong, finished the New York Marathon in an unofficial 2:33:05.

Demong notably beat fellow U.S. Winter Olympic champ Apolo Ohno‘s time of 3:25:14 from 2011.

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