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Richmond Hill’s Julio Chuqui

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Julio Chuqui of Richmond Hill put on a surge about 9.5 miles into the 24th annual Queens Half Marathon, conducted by the New York Road Runners Club and College Point Road Runners Track Club, and crossed the finish line first in McNeil Park in College Point Saturday morning to claim the coveted crown.

For most of the 13.1-mile event, the 32-year-old Chuqui and 33-year-old Doug Cross of Towaco, N.J. ran together, but the former moved in front with less than four miles left on the roads in College Point to win his first Queens Half-Marathon title in three attempts.

Chuqui was clocked in 1:09:18, six seconds faster than the runner-up.

Chuqui, a member of the West Side Runners, ran a 1:08 in the same event last year. In his first such race he was recorded in 1:09.53 in 1999. He recently returned from Ecuador and trains about 120 miles a weeks.

The first two place finishers placed well ahead of Jaroslav Lazarowicz of Ridgewood, who finished third 1:03.54, two seconds faster than Leonardo Chalco of Flushing. Rounding out the top five was Prisco Huerta of Brooklyn (1.11.13).

The first female to cross the finish line was Lauren Esposito of Manhattan. Esposito’s 1:21.34 earned her 52nd place overall in the overall standings.

The first member of the host CPRRTC to finish was Yorki Munoz, whose 1.14.08 earned him 11th place overall.

Overall, there were 2,434 finishers and 3,709 entrants, mostly from the tri-state area. The race marked the second of the NYRRC series of five half marathons during the year.

In the annual Skaggs Walsh 5K, run in conjunction with the half marathon, Steven Paddock of Manhattan captured the race in 16:22 and Doris Correa also of Manhattan was female winner in 17:49. Overall there were 387 finishers out of 570 entrants.

“We had the largest turnout ever and the weather was great,” said Race Director Leo Nicholas. “The runners were very patient with everything that went on. Now it’s on to the Silver Anniversary next year when we’ll do something special.”

Many dignitaries were on hand for the start of the race, including state Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose), civic leader Fred Mazzarello, and Community Board 7’s Marilyn Bitterman.

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