A 21-year-old Indiana University student from Columbus was the winner of the new Dodge Ram pickup truck given away during the after-party for the Mill Race Marathon.
The winner, Denise Perez, said she had wanted to leave downtown after completing the half-marathon Saturday. However, it was her mother who insisted that her daughter stick around just in case her name was called for the truck giveaway, she said.
A native of Mexico whose family has live in the U.S. since she was 5, Perez said she was extremely surprised when her name was called out over the public address system. Perez is studying marketing at IU.
On the flip side, half-marathon runner Alex Lee is probably not happy with his choice to leave downtown Columbus early. Lee’s name was the first called out as the winner of the truck. However, the Ft. Thomas, Kentucky resident wasn’t present during the drawing and was disqualified.
With only those who finish the half or full marathon eligible to win the truck, Volunteer Race Committee council member Matthew Dudukovich says those runners have a a one-in-2,000 chance of winning the truck.
“Better odds than in any lottery you can ever enroll in,” Dudukovich said.
The truck is valued at about $64,400, according to the price sticker.
Securing a valuable new pickup truck for the giveaway involves an extensive amount of work, according to former Columbus Mayor Fred Armstrong, who now works as community relations director for the Columbus Automotive Group.
Leo Portaluppi, owner and CEO of P4 Automotive, which includes Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Columbus, works together with Cummins Inc. to secure the truck for the giveaway, Armstrong said. He and his wife celebrated with Perez at the truck giveaway.
And even after 11 years of Mill Race Marathons, the truck giveaway never cease to generate excitement, Armstrong said.
The heavy-duty Cummins engines that go into the Dodge Ram pickups are manufactured just a few miles away from the Mill Race Marathon starting point, Dudukovich said.