Thursday, April 24, 2003

Local runner wins Boston age group



By Tom Groeschen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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Janice Kreuz of Mount Lookout displays the glass bowl she was awarded for winning her Boston Marathon age group.
(Joseph Fuqua II photo)
| ZOOM |
First, Janice Kreuz had to be coaxed into running in the Boston Marathon. Then, the Cincinnati woman won her division and didn't even know it.

Kreuz, 55, won the Women's Veterans division (ages 50-59) in Monday's 107th running of the world's best-known marathon, with a time of 3:21:20. That was nearly an hour behind women's overall winner Svetlana Zakharova of Russia, but who's counting?

Kreuz wasn't, evidenced by her husband having to call her on the phone and tell her she won her division.

"One of my best friends, Laurie Herman, talked me into going in the first place," Kreuz said. "When it was over, I had no idea I had won."

Kevin Kreuz, working at his architect's desk in downtown Cincinnati, was tracking his wife on the internet via the computer chip assigned each runner. The chip registers each runner electronically at various checkpoints.

He tracked down Herman, who told Janice Kreuz to hustle to the awards area and claim her prize - a spiffy glass bowl.

"I was just walking around watching the other runners come in, which I always do," Janice Kreuz said. "To find out I won ... I couldn't believe it."

Kreuz, who lives in Mount Lookout, beat 488 other female runners in her age group, including Milford resident Herman, who was 62nd. Runners qualify for Boston by making certain qualifying times per age group, with documentation required from other marathons. Kreuz had qualified several times in events such as Columbus but never went to Boston.

"It has to be the highlight of my career," she said.

Kreuz, a retired Delta flight attendant, said her biggest previous win was another age-group victory in the 1989 Columbus Marathon. She has finished as high as fourth in Cincinnati's Flying Pig Marathon but probably can't run this year's event (May 4) because she still will be recovering from Boston.

Bob Roncker, owner of the Running Spot stores and an authority on local running, said he could not recall a Cincinnati runner winning a division of the Boston Marathon. Roncker has been involved with local running for 45 years.

"There's nothing like Boston," Roncker said. "Janice is an amazing runner, and to win there says a lot. It's like being in the NBA playoffs on the floor with (Michael) Jordan or (Allen) Iverson, something like that. You're competing with the best in the world."

E-mail tgroeschen@enquirer.com




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