Generally if PCs run from a fight, I would give the monsters a free attack, and then let the PCs escape automatically (playing 1e/0e D&D). Of course if they linger around, the monsters may come back later. I have read that in 3e/4e, "retreating from an enemy with the same speed as you is suicide; he will always be able to match your speed and end up adjacent to you" (see link below). I would like to find some middle ground. I am thinking of perhaps a table which could be rolled on every round of a chase, until the person being chased either gets away, gets hit in the back, or re-engages in melee. Any ideas?
http://www.roleplayingtips.com/readissue.php?number=482 See section "Nullify The Disadvantages Of Retreating"