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Cincinnati Area Runners Score Big at the "Pig"

Men's, Women's Winners both from Greater Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio (May 04, 2003) - For the first time in the five year history of the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon, the winners of the two major divisions are from the Greater Cincinnati area. John Aerni, 23, from Oakley, an Eastern Cincinnati suburb, becomes the first native Cincinnati male runner to win the open division of the race, finishing in a time of 2:27:44. In the women's division, Lisa Veneziano, 38, of West Chester, a northern Cincinnati suburb, won the women's division in a time of 2:57:54. It is her fifth marathon win, the most recent coming three weeks ago at the Toledo Glass City Marathon. This is her first Flying Pig Marathon.

"I felt really good the first 20 miles," Aerni said. "Over the last six miles, I had a good mile, then a bad mile, but I never felt really terrible."

Aerni is an assistant track coach at Grinnell College in Iowa, where he graduated in 2001. He is a 1997 graduate of Walnut Hills High School, where he ran cross country and track. He spent last year teaching in the southern African country of Lesotho, and has accepted a teaching position this coming school year in Alaska.

Second place for the men's division was Pellegrino Ciccarello of Cleveland (2:35:21) and third was Dave Ackerman of Milford (2:39:50).

"I knew early in the race I was going to have a good one," Veneziano said. "I conserved in the first half and my second half time was better than my first half." She didn't take the lead until mile 20, but was not seriously challenged the rest of the way. "I didn't have trouble until Mile 25," she said. "That was my toughest mile, but it's not so bad if you don't hit the wall until Mile 25."

Second in the women's division was Cass McCune from Nashport, Ohio (3:00:59) and third was Heidi Stegemiller from Franklin, Ohio (3:02:30).

Other division winners include, Ernst & Young 4-person relay, the defending champion Cincinnati team from Bob Roncker's Running Spot consisting of Scott LeCates, Jill Trantor, Henry Dennis and John Sense (2:19:36), which also won the City Challenge; Outback Steakhouse 2-person relay, Team Kentucky (2:37:16); Papa John's 10K, Cameron Stuber, 27, of Chicago (32:12); wheelchair men's division, Chad Johnson, 27 of New Salisbury, Indiana, his second victory at the Flying Pig (2:00); and wheelchair women's division, Holly Koester, 43, of Cleveland (3:20:14).

A record 9,762 participants signed up for this weekend's Flying Pig Marathon activities. This is a nine percent increase from last year. In the open marathon, 4,610 runners participated, with 2,052 in the Ernst & Young 4-person relay, 924 in the Outback Steakhouse 2-person relay and 1,650 in the new Papa John's 10K.