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Peacock, Pezzullo Are Midnight Run Champions

Two athletes training in North Carolina, Landon Peacock of Blowing Rock and Stephanie Pezzullo of Charlotte, won the 33rd Emerald Nuts Midnight Run, a four mile road race held in New York Central Park at the stroke of midnight.

Peacock, 24, a former University of Wisconsin Badger who now runs for the Reebok-sponsored ZAP Fitness program, clocked 18 minutes and 35 seconds, three seconds up on Tesfaye Dube, an Ethiopian athlete who runs for the New York-based West Side Runners club. Stephen Pifer, who runs for the Nike Oregon Track Club in Eugene, finished third in 18:48.

"It was a whole lot of fun," Peacock said after running the race for the first time. He smiled and added: "It was the most interesting way I've started a year."

Pezzullo, 29, who represents Saucony, outlegged rivals Sarah Porter and Carmen Douma-Hussar in the final mile to win in 21:05, a personal best for the distance by 55 seconds. For Pezzullo it was her first Midnight Run victory; she was second back in 2006.

"Awesome, awesome," Pezzullo said when she was asked how the race went. She continued: "It was just a great experience, and the crowd support was unbelievable."

Porter, who like men's winner Peacock runs for the ZAP Fitness program, crossed the finish line in 21:17 in her debut at the race. Douma-Hussar, a Canadian Olympian and former Midnight Run champion and course record holder, ran 21:26. Former Providence College standout Katie DiCamillo was fourth in 21:38.

Both Peacock and Pezzullo earned $600 each in prize money and time bonuses.

The New York Road Runners, the race founders and organizers, said about 5000 runners took part. A nearly 20 minute fireworks display accompanied the race.

By David Monti (c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved; Used with permission