The Flying Pig Marathon. How did the Cincinnati – known as the Queen City – become host of a marathon named for pigs?
Believe it or not, Cincinnati was once known as Porkopolis because of its prominence as a pork processing center.
Today, Cincinnati is better known for the variety of opportunities for runners who are traveling on business, vacation or to compete in one of its challenging races, including The Flying Pig, http://www.flyingpigmarathon.com.
Home to hills and more hills along the beautiful Ohio River that separates Ohio from Kentucky, Cincinnati offers runners and walkers nine city parks with trails ideal for running. A click on http://www.cincinnatiparks.com/index.php/trail-maps gives you all you need to know about the locations, distance and difficulty of the various trails. For more than 3,000 running routes in Cincinnati, check out http://www.usatf.org/routes/search/.
Running with a group can make the experience even better, so run with the group that best fits your schedule. It’s a great way to make friends you can hook up with next time you’re in town. It’s always good to check ahead to make sure the group is running when you will be visiting.
Run with a group
Going to be in Cincinnati on a Monday evening? How about meeting for the Pub Run at 6:30 PM at the Tin Roof Cincinnati for a run of 3 – 6 miles? Runners of all levels are welcome. And just as important, be sure to stick around for good food and socializing after the run. For information about other group runs with Fleet Feet, click on http://www.fleetfeetcincy.com/racing/weekly-group-runs.
Also, check out the Tuesday and Saturday runs north of town just outside I-275 with Mojo Running http://www.runmojo.com/training-group and don’t overlook the Meetup listings for a variety of group running opportunities, http://www.meetup.com/Cincinnati-Run-Club/.
The Running Spot
As in most cities, running stores in Cincinnati play an important role in the running community. Topping the list is Bob Roncker’s Running Spot, http://www.runningspot.com, at four area locations. Named the No.1 Specialty Running Store in the US in 2008, the store offers a variety of services for runners. You can attend clinics, join a free running group or a training group (for a fee) and consult their calendar of events to find out about local races that might fit your schedule. It’s just a great place to hang out with other runners and get the inside scoop on the local running scene.
Plan your next race
Speaking of local races, an information-packed Web site is provided by Running Time LLC, a race management company that lists featured races and has links to all the local races, http://www.runningtime.net/.
Another good resource to stay up-to-date is: Cincinnati Running’s site, http://www.cincinnatirunning.com/cgi-bin/calendar.pl.
The Flying Pig Marathon
That brings us back to The Flying Pig. Held the first Sunday in May, the Pig is the ideal spring marathon. The out-and-back course begins downtown near Paul Brown Stadium and includes a short loop in Kentucky. The highest point of the course comes after leaving scenic Eden Park between miles 8 and 9. From mile 21, the course follows the curve of the Ohio River, with the “Finish Swine” on Pete Rose Way.
Much more than just one race, The Flying Pig is now the 17th largest marathon weekend festival in the US, offering six running events, including a half marathon, 10K, 5K a couple of relays and even events for kids. There’s also a “Pigabilities” division for athletes of any and all abilities. Note that all events are walker friendly, too. Really ambitious runners can take advantage of one of the multi-event packages. And, don’t forget the Christian Moerlein Beer Series of three races: Bockfest 5K, Little Kings mile and Hudepohl 7K and 14K.
The festivities kick off on Friday at noon with the P&G Health & Fitness Expo, which attracts 50,000 guests – many there just for the shopping. Activities run through 3 PM on Sunday for the post-race party. The Flying Pig is definitely a “destination” marathon with runners from all 50 states and DC; and the 2013 marathon set a record for international participation with runners from 18 countries.
A great place to run
The next time you want to have a new racing experience or are traveling for business, take advantage of all Cincinnati has to offer: great urban running routes, scenic park trails and a memorable marathon festival. Enjoy an interesting city and make some new friends along the way
Will Kuhlman is the CEO of On The Go Group Inc. and subsequently RunnersOnTheGo.com. Will has spent the better part of the last three decades traveling all over the Country and the World and running. During his travels he has personally visited many popular running spots, run many races, and visited many running stores.
Sources for fact-checking
Flying Pig Marathon events and historical reference: http://www.flyingpigmarathon.com
Cincinnati parks: http://www.cincinnatiparks.com/index.php/trail-maps
USA T&F running routes: http://www.usatf.org/routes/search/
Fleet feet running groups: http://www.fleetfeetcincy.com/racing/weekly-group-runs
Run Mojo running groups: http://www.runmojo.com/training-group
Cincinnati Meetup running groups: http://www.meetup.com/Cincinnati-Run-Club/
Bob Roncker’s running store: http://www.runningspot.com
Local race calendars: http://www.runningtime.net/;
Correspondence with Betsy Ross, President, Game Day Communications, http://gamedaypr.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org; (513) 929-4263
Photos of Flying Pig Marathon: Michael E. Anderson (Contact: Game Day Communications)