This Little Piggy Went to Marathon

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    On Sunday, more than 20,000 runners from all 50 states and at least a dozen countries  will be traveling to Cincinnati to participate in one of Runner’s World magazine’s top 10 Most Fun Runs – that right, the Pig is back in town!

    Cincinnati’s annual Flying Pig Marathon will take to the streets for the tenth time with events for runners of all ages and abilities all over the city! The fun kicks off at noon Friday at the Duke Energy Center with the National City Health and Fitness Expo and continues through the weekend with various 5K, 10K and children’s marathons on Saturday before the wheelchair marathon, half-marathon, four-person relay and the main event: The Flying Pig Marathon on Sunday. Of course, walkers are welcome in all Flying Pig events!

    Here is an overview of what will be going on during the Flying Pig weekend:

    National City Health and Fitness Expo Schedule
    12 p.m. to 7 p.m. May 2, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. May 3, Duke Energy Center
    This is your chance to mingle with other health and fitness-minded people! There will be food demonstrations, items available for purchase and various speakers. For a complete itinerary, click here. This is also where runners will pick up their registration packets, Pasta Party tickets can be purchased and volunteers sign in.

    Toyota 10K Run
    0208GIBBERMAN.gif 8 a.m. May 3, Pete Rose way to Yeatman’s Cove
    Saturday’s headlining race gives runners a scenic tour of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. It begins on Mehring Way near Public Landing and ends near the US Bank Arena.

    Lord’s Gym Pump ‘n’ Run 10K option
    May 2, 3 and 4
    This option adds a “Full Fitness Competition” to the 5K, 10K, half and full marathon events by adding a weight lifting competition to running.

    Fleet Feet Sports 5K Events
    There will be a chip-times 5K, Flying Pig Kids’ Marathon One Mile, non-chip 5K, and a Hope and Possibility 5K that encourages people of all abilities to participate. These races offer the Lord’s Gym Pump ‘n’ Run option.

    Flying Pig Pasta “Pig Out”
    4:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m.; Fountain Square
    Be a part of the party that celebrated the Pig! Get a pasta dinner, music, entertainment and help honor Flying Pig Streakers who have participated in all nine previous Pigs and will be in this year’s as well.

    Wheelchair Race
    6:25 a.m., May 3
    First, second and third place awards will be given to both the male and female open chair.

    Flying Pig Marathon and National City Half Marathon
    6:30 a.m. May 4
    The main even starts on Mehring way at the crack of dawn and makes a loop around Cincinnati going through downtown and the east side of Cincinnati before returning to finishing on Pete Rose Way near the Taylor-Southgate Bridge.

      4-Person Relay
    6:30 a.m. May 4
    Special to the 10th anniversary of the big CEOs are getting in on the challenge to find out who is the “Boss Hog” among Greater Cincinnati corporations!
    Post Race Party
    10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Yeatman’s Cove Lawn Stage
    The party will kick off with the National City Half Marathon awards at 10 a.m. but the food, fun and music will continue all day!

    If you haven’t had a chance to register for the Pig yet, don’t worry! Even though mail in registration is closed, you can still register online. However, there is an additional cost for late registration. Registration will be open through the National City Health and Fitness Expo.

    If you just want to take in all the excitement, visit the Flying Pig’s Web site for course maps. The Web site also offers some tips for spectators, such as:

    • Encourage the runners and cheer them on individually
    • No booing!
    • Cheer on a challenging part of the course – this is where the runners need it most
    • Set up a Flying Pig Party if the course goes past your area
    • Prepare for the weather
    • If you see a runner who looks like he or she needs medical attention, get his or her race number and notify a course monitor or volunteer
    • Do not block the course
    • Remember the runners at the back of the pack. They need the most encouragement!

      If you are interested in participating in a smaller event, consider this triathlon: Tri for Joe at Coney Island is a race benefiting the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati on May 22. It has a swim in Coney’s pool, a nice, flat bike through Lunken and finishes with a flat 5K run. If you don’t want to swim, there is a duathlon (run, bike, run) and a 5k race available as well.

    If you’re out watching the Pig and meet someone from out of town, make you can answer them whey they ask, “Why flying pigs?” Here’s the skinny.
    According to the Enquirer’s archives, Andrew Leicester, an internationally known artist, started it all.

    To commemorate Cincinnati’s 200th anniversary, Bicentennial Park at Sawyer Point was constructed in 1988. Part of the project was an entrance sculpture that would represent the city. Leicester’s knew about Cincinnati’s past as Porkopolis and how we were the world’s leading center for processing and packing pigs by 1840. Leicester told John Johnston of the Cincinnati Enquirer the pigs in the sculpture represent the spirits of all of the slaughtered pigs that helped build Cincinnati. “So they’re up there paying one last tribute – singing the ‘Hallelujah Chorus’ – to all their brethren who flowed into the river,” Leicester told the Enquirer.

    Of course, not everyone was happy about having pigs be a representation of Cincinnati. Debates opened up all over the Queen city between people who thought the pigs were an embarrassment and those who thought the pigs put a fun spin on the city.

    Obviously, the pigs won and the rest is history. Cincinnati was home to the Big Pig Gig in 2000 when fiberglass pigs were painted with various designs and displayed all over the city. They were later auctioned, raising $401,500 for various local charities and Artworks, a local organization that connects artist of all ages with apprenticeships and community partnerships. Don’t worry if you missed them before, the Big Pig Gig pigs will be positioned along the marathon route again this year!

    Today, the Flying Pig Marathon still attracts people from all over to compete in the most fun marathon! Will you be one of them? Tell us what you plan to do for the Pig in the comments below!

    Photo: Neysa Ruhl Photography 
    Location: Gateway Quarter
    Model: Lisa Anders
    Makeup Artistry: Jocelyn Sparks, Zoë Custom Cosmetics