Crowds, traditions help push Flying Pig runners

Posted at 6:37 PM, May 01, 2016

CINCINNATI – When thousands of runners set out to run the Flying Pig Marathon, thousands more people mobilize to help motivate the runners along the route.

In Covington, the senior citizens of Panorama Apartments stand alongside the course and cheer on the runners with comical signs like “Keep up the pace, or I’ll hit you with my cane” and “Hurry, this sign is heavy.”

“I can’t do something like this anymore,” Covington resident Rose Goebel said. “I enjoy watching them doing it.”

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Another Flying Pig tradition is the crowd that gathers on Seventh Street. For anyone who has ever wondered what it’s like to be the grand marshal of the Reds’ Opening Day Parade, this is it.

In Eden Park, “Elvis” is always there for a song and selfies. Runners said it’s much appreciated just past mile seven.

In Walnut Hills, there were free hugs and high fives. In Hyde Park, nuns dance every year, and Merrimont is always festive.

“The smile on their faces … It’s a joy,” Fairfield resident Mike Cummings said. “When they hit this spot, they are so happy when they see me.”

At mile 22, a new tradition on the course honors Lauren Hill and inspires runners with her motto: Never give up.

The final push is a subtle one: 91-year-old thanks the runners as they pass mile 24.

The marathon doesn’t just show the runners what they’re made of – it shows them what the city is made of.