Fast Times at Half Marathon: Three Women Beat Record

Carlos Retiz of Mexico outsprinted Jose Luis Chuela in the final mile to win the America's Finest City Home Federal Half Marathon Sunday.

The men's field set a fast pace in the 11th edition of this 13.1-mile race. Retiz finished in 1 hour, 3 minutes and 40 seconds--about a minute faster than the winning time a year ago. And Chuela finished second with a 1:03.42. The record set in 1981 by Kirk Pfeffer is 1:02.55

But the top three women might have stolen the show. All three broke the previous course record of 1:14:31 set in 1983 by Nancy Ditz.

The women's field was led by surprise late entry Sylvia Mosqueda of Santa Monica, who ran close to the leading men's pack into the third mile.

Mosqueda, 22, is known for fast starts and catastrophic finishes.

She led the Olympic marathon trials in May for the first 18 miles by as much as a minute before being caught and eventually dropping out.

But this race wasn't long enough for her to be caught. She ran 1:11:31, despite a blister on her toe that bothered her for the final six miles. She earned $1,200 for winning and got a bonus of $500 for breaking the record.

The women's race was billed as the highlight of this event because of the presence of U.S. Olympic marathon team member Cathy Schiro-O'Brien of Boston and Irish Olympic marathon team member Marie Rollins.

Schiro-O'Brien, 21, also used this event as a final tuneup for Seoul. She had expected to win, but that was before learning that Mosqueda was entered in the race, after deciding to pass up a road race in Boston.

"I know she was running harder than what I wanted to run," Schiro-O'Brien said. "I didn't want to worry about her race, I just worried about my own. I came here hoping to win and with an idea of what I wanted to run without hurting myself. My time was decent."

Schiro-O'Brien, who was running about a minute behind Mosqueda throughout the race, finished second in 1:13:10. She received $700, plus $1,000 for being a U.S. Olympic team member who finished among the top three. Rollins placed ninth in 1:18:15.

The winner of the men's race, Retiz, a member of the Mexican Olympic marathon team, and Chuela, had separated themselves from a pack of six runners between the fifth and sixth mile and ran in stride until Retiz surged ahead unchallenged halfway up the Sixth Avenue grade.

Retiz completed the moderately hilly course in 1 hour, 3 minutes 40 seconds to win $1,200 in his final tuneup before the Olympics in Seoul.

Chuela, also of Mexico, was second in 1:03:42. He earned $700.

"Halfway up the incline I felt Jose giving out," Retiz said through an interpreter. "It was definitely a fight the whole way. He never let up. It could have been either one of us (who pulled ahead to win)."

Matt Clayton, 22, a student at San Diego State, finished third (1:04:37) and Ric Sayre of Ashland, Ore., fourth (1:04:43).

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