Monday, May 5, 2003
Locals hog marathon wins
By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Runners descended on Cincinnati on Sunday from all 50 states and from as far away as Australia, but they were no match for the locals.
Runners take off along Mehring Way.
(Photo by Craig Ruttle)
For the first time in its five-year history, the men's and women's winners in the Flying Pig Marathon were both from Cincinnati.
Competing in his first marathon, 23-year-old John Aerni, from Oakley, won the men's competition with a time of 2:27.44, and declared that he wasn't the least bit surprised that he did so well his first time out.
The women's winner, a Cincinnatian for a mere six months, got stuck in traffic en route to the race and almost missed the start.
"It was a close call," said West Chester's Lisa Veneziano.
Running in her 25th marathon, but her first Flying Pig, the 38-year-old Veneziano completed the course in 2:57.54
On a cool, sunny morning - perfect weather for running - a record 9,762 runners competed, a 9 percent increase over last year, with 4,610 tackling the marathon.
The Flying Pig started this year at Paul Brown Stadium and ran through Over-the-Rhine for the first time.
"It was a natural progression," said race director Rich Williams. "We were hitting another community. We're still hitting areas of high concentrations of people."
Aerni, a former college steeplechase runner who will take up residence this fall in Alaska after spending the last year teaching in southern Africa, became the first Cincinnatian to win the men's competition.
"I didn't know the whole history, but I figured a Cincinnatian had never won. I kind of had that goal coming in," he said.
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