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Published: 4/14/2003

Greutman, Veneziano first in Glass City Marathon

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Lisa Veneziano cruised to victory in the women's division in 3:05.56. Lisa Veneziano cruised to victory in the women's division in 3:05.56.
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Ryan Greutman didn't have the look of a champion as he crossed the finish line at the 27th annual Glass City Marathon.

He didn't deliver a wide smile or a final strong kick down the stretch run to the finish line. Wearing a navy blue shirt with its sleeves clipped off and tattered at the ends, the 24-year-old Lambertville, Mich., resident admits he didn't even prepare for the race in a way that had him thinking about taking top honors.

“I'm feeling pretty good right now, but I could have probably trained a little harder,” said Greutman, moments after outrunning more than 700 others yesterday morning over 26.2 miles of the city and suburbs. “I'm pretty happy. I'm just kind of disappointed because I know I could have run faster.”

Greutman ran most of the race practically unchallenged. He took the lead early and was able to maintain it until he crossed the finish line in a winning time of two hours, 42 minutes.

The personal-finance representative, who ran at Airport High in Carleton, Mich., and Michigan Tech, said his training for the race consisted of four weeks of running 35 to 40 miles per week. In comparison, he put in roughly 60 miles of roadwork a week prior to running in the Chicago Marathon twice. In each instance, he posted a significantly faster time than his winning time in Toledo.

Nevertheless, he's pleased with the overall results and experience of running in the Glass City Marathon.

“It was really nice today,” Greutman said. “It was cool, but not windy. This is a nice course. It was very scenic.”

Pat Benedict, a two-time Glass City Marathon champion, came in a distant second.

“You're not going to get a better day to run a marathon than today,” Benedict said. “I was just slow. I think my fastest days may be behind me.”

Benedict, 36, finished the course in 2:49. His previous best showing was 2:38:14 when he claimed the Glass City title in 2000. The former Sylvania resident who now lives in Brighton, Mich., said he had been putting in an average of 60 miles per week leading up to the race. He ran in the Napa Valley Marathon on March 2.

Benedict's hopes of a possible third race title in four years came to an end approximately 20 miles into the race.

“I thought if at around the 20-mile mark I could see him [Greutman], maybe I could catch him,” Benedict said. “But I never saw him.”

For most of the first 20 miles Lisa Veneziano ran side-by-side with Nancy Schubring, the defending women's champion. Veneziano, of West Chester, Ohio, pulled away from that point and ultimately became the women's winner with a time of 3:05.56.

“It was a really nice course,” said Veneziano, a first-time participant here. “I ran a conservative marathon and never hit the wall.”

Veneziano, whose running resume includes winning the 2000 Detroit Marathon, decided to run in Toledo basically because the Boston Marathon is taking place a week from today, which is a day after Easter Sunday.

The 38-year-old said she might have benefited from a fairly recent change in her workout routine. She changed her training program since giving birth to a child 20 months ago.

Time constraints haven't allowed her to put in three 20-mile runs per week as she did in previous years. Instead, she's been splitting up her long runs into 12 miles in the morning and eight miles at night three times a week.

“I really feel great,” said Veneziano, who actually ran four miles on her treadmill on the day she eventually gave birth to her baby. “In three weeks I'll do another marathon.”

Schubring, of Novi, Mich., finished second behind Veneziano in 3:10. The 42-year-old mother of four earned first place among the masters female competitors (40 and older).

“We were running together up to 20 miles and she held on to the pace and I slowed down,” Schubring said. “That's when I said to her, `I'll see you at the finish line when I get there.'

“I'm happy with my time. I was shooting for somewhere between 3:10 and 3:12. I wasn't even sure I was going to run in the race until actually about a week ago.”

Kurt Schneider, 44, of Harper Woods, Mich., claimed the masters male title by completing the race in 2:54. It was Schneider's eighth time competing in the Glass City Marathon and 20th marathon overall.

Andrew Barnhart, 47, won the wheelchair division in 3:00.33.

Illinois resident John Spannuth carried the United States Marines flag attached to a flagpole over the final 13 miles of the course. Spannuth, who is in the navy, ran with the flag to honor his marine friend, 1st Sgt. Edward Smith, who died in combat in Iraq on April 5.

Spannuth, who ran his first marathon in 1996, wants to run in at least one marathon in every state. The Glass City Marathon, which he completed in a time of 3:15, represented the 13th state he's run in.



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