Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thoughts on the Flying Pig

I was super impressed with the Cincinnati Flying Pig marathon last weekend.  It was my first running of the race (and a relay!) but my friends have been raving about it for years.  I have now run 3 out of the 4 major Ohio marathon/half marathon/relay courses (Cleveland full twice, Akron half once, and Cincinnati).  I still haven't made it to Columbus in October but now that my sister moved there I am sure that will change this year.

I was really impressed with the Flying Pig.

  • They were trying to be more green this year.  E-mails came to everyone ahead of time to print any flyers or coupons you were interested in.
  • The race swag was very nice.  All race participants received an Asics running shirt (separate men and female sizing! not one size fits all like rock n' roll races), a real back pack, a poster, and a double sided medal.  
  • I was impressed everyone from the relay to the marathoner were treated the same.  This isn't always the case and it was nice to not be shafted just because I opted out of running this marathon.
  • The expo was a good size but not ridiculous/crazy.  It is set up similar to Akron where after you pick up your bib you are funneled into buying the race supported gear then weave through all the booths.  
  • For a race that is 13 years old it is incredibly organized.  More so than some older races I've been too/ran.
  • It's a big race but not one where you feel too crowded at anytime.
  • The race support is fantastic.  Aid stations were organized and well stocked. The race allows runners to vote for their favorite water stop/aid station at the end so some of those groups go all out just for bragging rights! 
  • The race support is fantastic.  The community really gets involved at all stages of the race.  Unlike Cleveland which definitely has dead zones on the full course where you won't see anyone for a mile except the cops that is not the case in Cincinnati.  Even in the most sketch neighborhoods there were people out partying in the front yard, sitting on their porch cheering, handing out candy, jager shots (no I didn't have one), beer, funny signs, and their support.  
  • If you love cute little piggies then you need to run this race.  They are everywhere!
  • Relay exchanges while chaotic because of the number of people but were well organized from bathrooms, water, to volunteers.  I had no problem finding the 2nd or 4th runners.  Plus, at the 3rd leg there is a grocery store that opens their doors for cover and bathrooms.  At the 4th leg a local church provides breakfast and coffee to runners.  The 2nd leg there is only a pavilion to wait but at least there is cover.  
  • Finish line or I should say Finish Swine is organized and well stocked.  Even for those runners crossing in 7 hours.  Though like any race there are those that grab a box and try to take everything laid out thinking they are the only one that ran the race.

There were not very many negatives about running this race.  Hills and the weather two things you can't control but at least expect.  It usually storms or at least rains.  This year was no different but at least it wasn't very heavy for very long.    The hills are constant, even as my friend calls them "baby hills" will cause you issues after awhile.  It's a challenging course and if you want to test your stuff the Flying Pig is where you should.  If you're nervous about the hills the biggest, baddest ones are in the first half.  Or run the relay!  The hilliest leg (#2) is the shortest distance.  No leg is flat or downhill, the last 2 only have fewer or less steep hills.  

And a little reminder if you decide to run a marathon relay.  Be sure you communicate with your team members about 1) how fast they each expect to run their leg so you know when to go out to wait for your exchange 2) where to meet at the finish line.  The big busses you back but I didn't carry my cell phone because of the rain.  Yeah, it took awhile to find everyone!  

On a completely unrelated note... T-10 days until my 3rd Cleveland marathon!  Let the weather watch commence!


Marlene said...

Some of the people I train with have mentioned the Pig a few times and I'd love to check it out one of these days! Sound like a great race - it is AMAZING what a difference it makes when the race is well-run. (no pun intended, heh)

And that is the best sign ever!!!

ajh said...

I think I would like this. Yes, to the finish line meet up. It can be very tricky.

Julie (ROJ) said...

Haven't heard/seen ya in forever! Good to know you had fun at the Pig. I wish my friends would do relay's but they're all "let's just do the whole thing" sheesh! There is a VERY good chance I'm gonna be at the Cleve race too (supporting a friend) good luck with that one.

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

they make this race sound so fun...but hmm storms and a challenging course, they leave that out

Anonymous said...

U made that race sound SU-WEET! I've wanted to do it just for the awesome sticker for my car... but now I'll have to add it to the list!

ashley (redonk runner) said...

there was a "worst parade ever" sign at the country music marathon.. love it! made me laugh out loud. :)

Running Mama said...

Yay for blogger working'd think the electricity was out. Funny how we get used to having certain things. Good luck on your marathon!! You are inspiring.

BrianFlash said...

Don't forget about the Air Force Marathon in Dayton. I thought it was a really good race also - worth a run for sure!