Best. Race. Ever.
That’s how I would describe the 2015 Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon.
From an awesome expo, to an awesome swag bag, to an awesome starting line, to an awesome course – this race was incredible!
We spent the night in downtown Cinci on Saturday and I woke up on Sunday at 5AM for a 6:30AM start time (the earliest I’ve ever seen, usually it’s 7AM.) I was pretty tired from spending the day and most of the night before in Downtown Louisville for the derby, but a light breakfast and an energy gel did me well.
I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to find my way to the starting line since I was in an unfamiliar city, but as soon as I hit the hotel lobby it was like an explosion of runners in neon colors had hit. I followed a few large groups of people to the starting line and after accidentally getting stuck in the wrong corral (I couldn’t find the exit!) I found where I was supposed to be with about 6 minutes to spare.
Music blasted over the speakers and the crowd was dancing as our corral’s turn got closer to the start. We counted down from 10 and suddenly fireworks and fire flew over the starting line as a buzzer sounded. It was awesome! I beamed as we ran through and the crowd cheered us on. (Another cool thing – they broadcast the race live on TV!)
The course was fantastic. There were a good gathering of hills around miles 6 to 8, but nothing too crazy. One of my favorite moments was a man at the bottom of one of the hills holding a giant letter “F” who kept shouting “Get the F up this hill!!” Another favorite moment was hearing a runner next to me say to his friend “Mile 5 is the fastest mile on the course, you’ll see why in just a second…” and we suddenly turned a corner and entered a one mile straight away lined with hundreds (maybe even thousands) of people cheering on the runners. (I ran an 8:30 that mile.)
Another favorite moment was early on in the race, crossing the bridge over into Kentucky and looking out across the Ohio River and seeing the sunrise. You could see a hot air balloon shadow in the distance too. It was so beautiful and I heard another runner say “Take a mental picture in your head.” And I sure did.
I was laughing out loud when I saw the finish line with a giant sign reading “The Finish Swine” across the top. The pig related signs and costumes were hilarious to see out on the course and I really enjoyed the theme, oppose to just another “So-and-So City Marathon.”
The finisher’s party was fantastic too with tons of good (free) food for the runners and lots of tents and booths with local groups and restaurants. It was also great to be able to walk back to the hotel afterwards and see the hordes of other runners all around the city enjoying the day and the beautiful weather.
The only complaint I have about the event is that there was no post-race free beer ticket! (I’ve never ran a race of this size before without a free drink at the end! It’s still not enough to spoil it for me though.) Also a bag at the finish line would have been nice instead of juggling all the free food items you got. (Hey they were free though so I’m not complaining that much!)
After the race we went over to Newport Kentucky and had drinks and lunch out on the deck overlooking the Ohio River. We were feeling so crazy we each got out own pitcher of margaritas in honor of Cinco De Mayo. It was so wonderful to relax with my family in the sunshine after a wonderful race. I saw other runners out walking around too with their families, the Flying Pig metal hanging proudly around their neck.
Overall I would give this race 9 out of 10. The marathon is also named a top 10 “Most Fun Runs” and ”best named” Marathon by Runner’s World Magazine and it sure lives up to both!
Here are a few more pictures from this weekend. (Also – the race already has race pictures up! Another reason the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon rocks!)