The fastest Latin American female marathoner ever, Madaí Pérez, will lead the Mexican 42.195km team in the 2008 Olympic Games as she and Carlos Cordero won the 30km trials on Sunday in this resort on the Pacific coast.
Pérez, who holds a personal best of 2:22:59 from her fourth place finish in Chicago 2006, won the 30km trial in 1:45:05, ahead of two-time Olympian Dulce María Rodríguez (1:46:23) and Patricia Retiz (1:47:33).
Patricia Rétiz, 37, won the LALA Marathon in March in Torreon, the country’s top 42.195km race, which usually serves as the national championships and qualifier for the World Championships and Olympic Games.
However, the Mexican Athletics Federation (FMA) decided to hold a 30km qualifying race with similar weather conditions athletes would find this summer in Beijing.
Perez met the A standard set by the IAAF when third in Boston last year (2:30:16). She backed it up with 2:35:17 as she finished 15th at the World Championships in Osaka.
“I will run for a medal in Beijing as everyone else. I will train in Mexico, where I can find all weather conditions: hot, humid, dry. I want to thank many people for their support. I will now focus on the final preparations for Beijing,” said the winner.
The 28-year old, who is coached by two-time New York Marathon champion German Silva, showed she is great shape a week earlier when she ran a huge personal best over 10,000m (31:30.23) in Stanford, California.
She was the fastest Mexican woman in 2003-2004 (2:27:08), but was not selected in the Olympic team for the 2004 Games in Athens.
Rodríguez, mother of two, is ready for her third Olympics after running the 5000m in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.
In the men’s race, Carlos Cordero and Edilberto Méndez moved away from the leading quartet after the 25km mark and raised their hands together as they crossed the finish line in 1:35:37 hours.
Cordero, who holds a marathon personal best of 2:13:28 from his third place in LALA 2008, was given the victory by the photo finish.
Two-time CAC Games winner and 2007 Pan American Games bronze medallist Procopio Franco grabbed the third spot in 1.36:28, ahead of Francisco Bautista (1:37:07). He already ran in Athens 2004.
Pre-race favorite and the fastest Mexican marathoner since 2004, Pablo Olmedo, dropped out after the 10km mark, visibly affected by the heat.
The selection is to be confirmed by the head of the Mexican delegation for the Summer Olympics.
Except Rodriguez and Franco, the other four runners will make their Olympic debut in Beijing.
Rodolfo Gomez and German Silva, sixth in Moscow 1980 and Atlanta 1996, respectively, have been the best ranked Mexican in the Olympic marathon history. Adriana Fernandez was 16th in Sydney 2000.
Here is the Mexican Marathon team for Beijing:
Madaí Pérez, 28, PB 2:22:59 (2006)
Dulce María Rodríguez, 37, 2:28:54 (2006)
Patricia Rétiz, 37, 2:30:29 (2008)
Procopio Franco, 37, 2:11:42 (2004)
Carlos Cordero, 2:13:28 (2008)
Edilberto Méndez, 25, 2:15:02 (2007)
Javier Clavelo Robinson for the IAAF