Mary Davies is hoping a hometown boost will help push her ahead of the field next weekend when she laces up for the Ottawa Marathon.

The elite 26-year-old New Zealand runner moved to Ottawa two months ago after her husband was hired to teach physics at Carleton University.

Since coming to town, she’s been running up to 170 kilometres per week on the paths and trails around the city. Many of those kilometres have been over the same ground she will be racing on May 30.

“I feel like I know the course and the environment and I’ve got friends and family here and the training’s been going really good,” she said. “Anything can happen, and there’s good competition, so that helps.”

At the Ottawa Marathon, Davies is targeting a finishing time under 2:34. Her previous best time was 2:38, set with less than ideal conditions in Berlin.

Davies won the Montreal women’s half-marathon last April with a time of 1:14:45, and on May 2, she won the Sporting Life 10K in Toronto with a time of 33:08.

Davies will be up against Toronto’s Lioudmila Kortchaguina who is gunning for her fifth marathon victory in Ottawa.

In the men’s race, Kenyan David Cheriuyot might as well be considered a local racer. The 40-year-old has won the race four times in the last five years.

Despite that record, he may not be the favourite in a field with at least four runners who have personal bests comfortably under Cheriuyot’s 2:10 course record.

The top Canadian is Danny Kassap. This will be the 27-year-old’s first marathon since suffering a heart attack during the Berlin Marathon in 2008.

Amputee Rick Ball from Orillia will also take aim at the 3:01:50 single-legged world record he set at the race last year.