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New 10-Kilometer Race Draws a Strong Field

TIMES STAFF WRITER

As if the hundreds run here each year weren’t enough, the county is about to be the site for yet another road race--the Trib 10K.

Is there room? Sure. In fact, the Trib 10K--which will begin at 8 a.m. Sunday near Presidents Way in Balboa Park--might be ready to make space for itself near the top of the list. Race promoter Lynn Flanagan of In Motion has already been able to do what only Tim Murphy, who organizes the Carlsbad 5,000, has done to any great extent recently--secure a field of top athletes from both Southern California and around the world.

Matt Clayton of Imperial Beach, who last November ran a 28:30 10-kilometer in Torrance, heads the list of local entries. Others include Thom Hunt, Terry Cotton and Alphonce Swai, a native of Kenya who ran for that country in the 1984 Olympics.

Swai is 26 and attempting a comeback while battling alcoholism. Sam Obwocha, a countryman of Swai’s now living in Van Nuys, will also run. Obwocha recently set a course record at the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston at 29:20. He also won the Palm Springs 10K in 28:40, running in intense heat.

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Other U.S. runners of note who will compete Sunday include Bo Reed of Flagstaff, Ariz., who won last year’s Coronado Bridge 6.5-mile run in 31:27, and Don Janicki of Boulder, Colo., who won the San Diego Marathon in 1987 in 2:12:06, still the fastest marathon run here.

But none of these guys have a chance, at least in the eyes of Clayton and Hunt. They think the race will be won by one of three Mexicans who have entered--Francisco Pacheco (10-kilometer track best of 27:56), Gerardo Alcala (27:53) and Rafael Zepeda (28:17).

Top women runners include Martha Tenorio, the Ecuadorean national record-holder in the marathon; Tina Ljunberg, who won last year’s Coronado Bridge Run in 36:00 and took first in the 1989 Desert News 10K at 32:10; Shelly Steely, who ran a 32:42 last month on the track at the Mt. SAC Relays, and Sue Berenda, who has a 10K best of 32:43.

The course, which winds its way to the new convention center, will be quick because of the net drop of 400 feet. The fastest San Diego 10-kilometer road times of 28:17 (set by Michael Musyoki in the 1986 Buick 10K) and 32:14 (set by Lynn Williams in the same race) could be eclipsed. But the course configuration means no time run here can be considered a national or world best.

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Race-day registration will be accepted for an $18 fee.


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