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Costa Rican watches for signs, wins

By Sharon Robb
STAFF WRITER
Posted January 31 2005

MIAMI ∑ Erick Quiros of Costa Rica took advantage of a rare Kenyan mistake to win the Toyota Prius Miami Tropical Half Marathon.

The two-time champion of the San Jose International Half-Marathon looked on as leaders Solomon Kandie and Moses Waweru, both of Kenya, followed the marathon-course sign instead of the half-marathon sign. By Mile 14, Kandie was looking around and throwing his arms in the air.

A quick-thinking Quiros turned off at the half-marathon sign to win his first major U.S. men's title in 1 hour, 8 minutes and 4 seconds for 13.1 miles, just shy of the 1:07:56 course record set by countryman Johnny Loria-Solano last year. He won $1,000.

"I am a lucky man," Quiros said through an interpreter. "I did not follow the Kenyans."

Michael Wardian, 30, of Arlington, Va., a marathon treadmill world-record holder, was second in 1:10:06 and won $500. The lanky, ponytailed runner watched the lead pack for most of the race and "just ran my own race." On Dec. 1, he ran a certified 2:23:58 on a treadmill.

"I led the race for the first three miles, and then they just took off," Wardian said. "I wasn't expecting all the causeways; that's a lot of hill work."

In the women's half-marathon, an age-group runner had one of the fastest times among the elite field.

Debbi Kilpatrick-Morris, 41, of Strongsville, Ohio, was a late entry but didn't disappoint organizers, winning the women's title (1:18:32) and $750. Kilpatrick, who led the entire race, arrived the day before. She had been training indoors on a treadmill because of the snow. The masters 20K national-record holder is coached by local Jeff Hlinka of Hillsboro Beach. Hlinka also coaches Marlene Persson of Deerfield Beach, who was fifth in the half-marathon in 1:24:32.

"She ran real well," Hlinka said. "We had a plan and stuck with it. We were basically going for the win. It was a prestigious win."

Sonja Friend-Uhl of West Palm Beach, originally announced second in 1:19:05, was bumped to third when age-group runner Veena Reddy, 26, of Philadelphia had a faster time in 1:18:49 and won $500. Friend-Uhl pocketed $250. "I actually didn't chase [Kilpatrick-Morris] down; I ran my race," Friend-Uhl said. . "Debbi is a marathoner and knows how to push it."

LOCAL standouts

Many of the local runners said they were affected by the humidity, even though they train in it. Top Floridian in the half-marathon was Jimmy Villalobos, 34, of Sunrise in 1:13:23.

"I was a little worn out from the heat toward the end," said Villalobos, who finished eighth overall.

Gulliver Prep's Bryan Sharkey, 17, was second among Floridians in a personal-best 1:14:18.

"This will get me in shape for the track season," Sharkey said.

John Reback of North Palm Beach was the third-fastest Florida man in 1:16:53. Friend-Uhl was the top Florida woman in 1:19:04. Marlene Persson of Deerfield Beach was second in 1:24:30, and Carol Postigo of Miami was the third-fastest Florida woman in 1:26. ...

Miami fourth-grader Jeffrey Tait finished 98th among Floridians in his half-marathon debut in 1:35:47 and was getting a lot of attention after the race.

"All this attention is fine but I am a little bit tired," Tait said.

At 10 he was the youngest finisher. ...

Jennifer Reily 31, and Scott Bailey, 46, both of Fort Walton Beach were wed during the marathon. They stopped midway through at Bayfront Park's fountain, had a brief ceremony and continued the marathon. They finished in 7:06:10.

A week after competing in the Orlando Extreme Marathon, Monica Kimbler of Pembroke Pines finished her 40th marathon, and her husband, John, his 15th. Both are 48.





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