Chic Spotlight: Iris Simpson Bush, Queen Bee Half

Chic Spotlight: Iris Simpson Bush, Queen Bee Half

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Iris Simpson Bush, Executive Director of the Flying Pig

The Flying Pig Marathon organization is adding two new events to its lineup this fall, the Queen Bee Half Marathon, along with the Queen Bee Four Miler, on Saturday, October 11, starting and ending at the Horseshoe Casino in downtown Cincinnati. While men are welcome to be part of the Queen Bee, it’s a female-focused event benefiting several charitable causes in the area. Cincy Chic talks with Iris Simpson Bush, the executive director of the Flying Pig Marathon, about the upcoming Queen Bee Half Marathon.


Cincy Chic: Why add a women’s themed half marathon to the Flying Pig list of events?
Iris: We monitor trends and “what’s happening’ in the running industry and we saw that women’s themed half marathons are cropping up in cities across the country. Our own statistics, as well as national trends, show that the half marathon distance attracts more than 70% women. Local questionnaires and focus groups confirmed — that’s what the females in our large and vibrant running community want!


Cincy Chic: What makes the Queen Bee Half different?
Iris: The Queen Bee is geared specifically to women’s likes and wants! It’s not a sissy course, but it will have lots and lots of support, female themed entertainment and pampering. All the same basics we try to provide in every event we present will be part of it, but with a distinctly female feel–additional chocolate, pampering and swag that will appeal to a woman’s comfort and taste.


Cincy Chic: Why do you think it’s important to get women in particular involved in running and walking events?
Iris: The Flying Pig weekend of events, the Beer Series and now the Queen Bee weekend all function under the corporate umbrella of Cincinnati Marathon Inc. The mission of our entire organization is to put on “premiere running events” for athletes of all abilities, to raise money for charities and to celebrate our community. Women often set the tone and example for their entire family. They frequently make the buying decisions regarding nutrition, family activities and social events. We want to positively impact healthy lifestyles in our community and we think women can have the quickest and most far reaching impact on those initiatives and goals.


Cincy Chic: What charities will be involved in the Queen Bee Half?
Iris: Any local charity can join, BUT we will have a particular focus on female themed causes. Some who are currently on board and who will have a high profile are: The Pink Ribbon Girls, Team in Training’s MOMS IN TRAINING, Girls on the Run and Dress for Success. We are in discussion with several more, so watch for additions and please contact us at if you have particular groups who may be interested in participating, raising money for their causes and/or volunteering.


Cincy Chic: The Cincinnati area seems to be an area where the running and walking community is very strong. Why do you think that is?
Iris: We don’t necessary have empirical evidence but our area’s long running history plays a part in that. Several accomplished, dedicated runners came together to form a running community long before it was in vogue elsewhere. An example: Our very own Thanksgiving Day race is one of the five oldest running events in the country–continuously running more than 100 years. That community has grown as the running boom spread, but we have earned a reputation for putting on some of “the best, most organized, most fun events” anywhere. You add the element of doing it for a good cause (which was an integral part of The Pig’s foundation) with the fact that Cincinnati is also one of the top THREE most charitable giving cities in the country, and the combination has attracted local attention, commitment and support from participants from all walks of life and all age groups.



Cincy Chic: For those readers out there who have never attempted a 5K, much less a half marathon, where do they start? What do you suggest?
Iris: There are several very good training programs offered by local running stores. Also, some on-line programs can work for those who need to do it on their own and we can help guide and craft a program for anyone who needs a customized approach–so just contacts us. Most importantly though, we suggest that you find a running buddy. Even if there are just two of you, or if you can start your own small group, we can provide guidance on how to choose the right distance to begin, how to increase the miles, avoid injury and add proper nutrition, training gear and motivation. Just contact us at and we’ll head you in the right direction for your needs. Also, we purposely chose a four-mile course to go with the half for those who are just getting started. There are 5K and 10K options most every weekend, with 5Ks being the perfect start for most everyone. Our four mile will be a great step up for those beginning or who have already done a 5K, and the half marathon distance is perfect for those who are ambitious and ready to take their next big step.


Cincy Chic: What else do we need to know to get ready for the Queen Bee Half?
Iris: It’s going to be a fun and different approach to running. Contact us if you have specific questions or concerns to help you to prepare, but if you’re willing to train and ready to have a great “girls weekend experience” you are ready for the Queen Bee and we welcome you to join us for its October 11th debut.