Fretz breaks 10K course record

Mike Fretz and Mary Coordt, two runners who know a thing or two about fast times, were record-setters at the annual Firecracker 10K and 2-mile fun run Friday morning.

Fretz, 35, of Reno, was the 10K overall winner for the second year in a row and broke his own record with a time of 34 minutes, 28 seconds over the trail course at Riverview Park. Coordt, 34, of Elk Grove, Calif., finished sixth overall in the race in a women's course record of 39:28.

The event, a fund-raiser for American Legion Capital Post 4, attracted 114 entrants in the 10K run and 2-mile run/walk, according to race director Tim Tetz.

"The turnout was phenomenal," Tetz said. "This caught us off guard. The weather cooperated, it's just a beautiful day, and we had a good race."

And fast, too.

Coordt, one of the nation's elite women's marathon and ultra-distance runners, ran a time that probably seemed more like a stroll in the park to her, even at Carson City's 4,700-foot altitude. Making her effort on Friday all the more impressive, she ran the prestigious Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minn., on June 21 in a time of 2:47:39 to qualified for the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials. To put that effort in perspective, her pace for the Grandma's Marathon was 6:24 per mile, her opening 10K was 38:58 and her last 10K was 40:35.

Furthermore, Coordt set the 50K course record at the Tahoe Rim Trail Run when she ran 5:22:03 in 2001. She also finished 54th at the 2000 Olympic Trials Marathon in Columbia, S.C.

Fretz has some pretty impressive credentials himself. "I've run, I was a jockey for eight, nine years. It's been fun," he said.

A 1991 graduate of Oklahoma State University, Fretz enjoyed highlights that included a 5K best of 14:32 in a meet at Mt. SAC. Last year, he outsprinted Chad Sanada to win the Firecracker 10K in a course course record 35:12.

Fretz was even faster this time, crossing the finish almost two minutes ahead of his closest competition.

"Last year was a battle," Fretz said, smiling. "I felt pretty good today. I ran faster coming back; anytime you run negative splits, you feel good about that."

Fretz, who works for the Washoe County Sheriff's Office, passed the midway mark in 17:23. He ran the last half of the race in 17:05.

The race provided a good opportunity for Fretz.

"I run local races and this was the only one today," he said. "I like running trails and I like coming here because the people who put it on are nice."

Agustin Arroy of Carson City finished second overall in 36:19, and 15-year-old Dan Geib was third in 37:44.

Daniel Sipko, who is headed into his senior year at Douglas High School, was the overall winner in the 2-mile race in a time of 12:20 and Mark Mahl, 55, finished second overall in 13:34. Carson High runner Janine Stone was first among the women in 14:17.

Jim Baratti of Dayton was the last runner across the finish in 1:10:07, but he had good reason to celebrate. His 70th birthday was on Thursday.

"I have soreness in one of my legs so I didn't do as well as I would have liked, but I ran all the way and I made it," Baratti said. "I'm grateful to be able to run at my age."

Baratti said the sore leg was bothering him at the turnaround, but some welcome company helped out.

"I had some people stick with me and help me out," Baratti said. "Paul Nash, who's a school teacher in France, ran all the way to the finish with me. He just told me to keep putting one foot in front of the other and I was able to do that."

The friendly atmosphere makes the race special, he added.

"It's fun because the people are so nice; it's for a good charity program and I like to support the people who put it on," Baratti said.

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