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ernest caballero

Ernesto Caballero

debbie james

Debbie Arzola-James


On her way back

When she registered as D. James, her husband Troy figured that his wife was more or less trying to hide her identity. That's what she does sometimes when she's not in top form. No matter, Debbie Arzola-James still won the women's division at the Lions Club xSIGHTment 5K in Colleyville. Though her time of 19:13.6 might not measure up to her previous standards, it was good enough to edge her closest competitor, Yolanda Hopping, by two seconds and win the first-prize money of $100 on June 2.

In the men's division, Ernesto Caballero, a frequent road-race competitor, won in 16:03.4, beating his nearest pursurer, Ken Hall, by five seconds. Caballero had a virtual lock on winning some money because at 41, he would have been in the masters division had he not won overall.

Debbie is trying to round back into condition after having a boy, Joseph Benjamin, nine months ago. This was, said her husband, her third race since the birth. He said she ran a 5-miler in San Antonio in about 32 minutes, and ran a 1:30 something in a half marathon in the Caribbean over, what he described, as a difficult, hilly course. Troy said when Debbie was nationally ranked, she had run a 1:17 half marathon and 33:28 10K. On Saturday, though, her relative modest goal was to break 20 minutes.

Debbie, 32, has been among the top women runners in the nation and was among four Team Deena women who Deena Kastor, 2004 bronze winner in the 2004 Olympic Games marathon, was pacing at the 2003 Ing New York Marathon in an effort to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials. There were several others who also were being paced, but Debbie was on the ``official'' Team Deena. However, Debbie had to take cortisone shots for a heel spur and could keep the 2:40 pace only through 15 miles when the cortisone began wearing off. She finished in 2:55.

Troy, who has been an agent for several elite runners, said Debbie often goes to Mexico to train with her coach and Mexican national team for a couple of months. But with Joseph, they aren't sure when she'll be able to do that again.

Ernesto said last year's masters winner William Moore recommended he enter this year's race. ``He liked it last year, but he was out of town and couldn't come this year,'' Ernest said.

``It was a decent course, a challenge. Kind of muggy (weather). Good people. I loved it,'' he said. He's been running, he said, for about 20 years and has several overall and masters titles. ``This was a decent time. I'm happy. It was a little faster (than I've been running).'' Ernest is sixth in this year's masters race winners list on the Fastest In The Metroplex list with a 16:42.

Although third-place finishers in the men's and women's divisions won $25, However, third-place male Aaron Hohn didn't accept the $25 check because he's still in school and it would break UIL rules for athletes.