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9 memorable moments from the Flying Pig

Posted at 8:40 AM, Apr 30, 2013
and last updated 2018-04-03 10:24:16-04

Ask anyone who sacrificed the time for training, ran when they didn't feel like it and finally crossed the finish line of the Flying Pig Marathon what their most memorable race moment is and the answer will probably come easily – that moment of exhaustion right after the race and the realization of "I did it" sinks in.

That's what makes creating any list of top memories over the past 14 years of Flying Pig marathons so difficult, as thousands crossed that line, and thousands more will do so this year.

Still, there are more than a few moments that stand out for spectators and participants alike in the Pig's history. What follows are a few of them, from the start until now.

1.May 9, 1999: First love. First heartbreak.First Flying Pig Marathon. For those who were there, (about 6,200 participants for the inaugural race) the Flying Pig course looked a bit different than what runners will see on May 5, 2013. Perhaps the biggest change is the finish line.

During the first year runners ended their 26.2 miles grueling test of endurance at Union Terminal.

"It was pretty," said Martin Hovey, whose first marathon was that first Pig. "Of course there weren't many shade trees."

Hovey is a certified Pig "streaker" after running all 14 Pigs. Hovey, who plans to mark his 50th marathon with the 15th Pig, said the race finally maintained its current after three or four years.

"If it get's boring by the 25th, I'll go race somewhere else," he said with a laugh.


2. May 5, 2002: Tatyana Pozdnyakova has a long and storied history as a runner. In her youth, Pozdnyakova was a Soviet athlete, winning gold at the World Cross Country Championships in 1981.

In the late 1990s she made a comeback in her athletic career when she started running marathons.

This included her winning, and still holding, the Pig marathon women's record time of 2:34:35.

According to the World Masters Athletic Association, Pozdnyakova holds both the women's 45 and women's 50 years old age group records for marathon running.

3. May 7,  2006: It was only Cecil Franke's second marathon, and the eighth Flying Pig, when the sophomore marathon runner set the record for the Pig course that's stuck for the past six years.
Franke's time of  2:20:25 is also the record for the oldest winner of the Pig. He was 38 when he crossed the finish line, according to that year's Cincinnati Post.


4. May 4, 2008: Four years later and some runners are still talking about an unwelcome last minute change to the Flying Pig course.

The day of the race an early morning fire broke out along the route on Riverside Drive that delayed the start and re-routed the finish line.

The incident forced organizers to direct runners through Turkey Ridge Park and back up onto the route through Corbin Street, adding a couple of tenths of a mile and a couple minutes to race times. Luckily, Boston Marathon officials accepted adjusted times for the Pig finish, since the Pig is a qualifying race to run Boston.

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5. May 2, 2010: For being held the first Sunday each May, Flying Pig Marathon runners luck out weather-wise more times than not. The Pig didn't see its first wet start until 2006.

"I remember the first year it rained and I woke up and I thought I’m really going to have to get it together," Billie Jo Mendoza, a runner of all 14 Flying Pigs, said.

Luckily the rain eventually let up on the course that year and the wet weather wasn't too bad. That wasn't the case in 2010. Days before the start, organizers monitored forecasts and worried about contingency plans if the race had to be delayed or canceled that year.

By start time at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, runners held their breaths as thunder finally disappeared, and they had to face torrential rain for two hours, resulting in heavy, water-loaded shoes and a miserable race.

6. May 1, 2011: There are Pig streakers, then there are streakers. Brett S. Henderson, of St. Paris, Ohio, decided he would try to run the Flying Pig Marathon his way: Naked.

Henderson didn't get too far though, as Cincinnati police used a Taser on him in the 1000 block of Gilbert Avenue.

He was charged with public indecency and banned for life by a Hamilton County court judge to never run the Pig again. (To add insult, Henderson didn't even pay the registration fee to run the race.)


7. May 1, 2011: Another headline was made during the 13th running of the Flying Pig. Amy McDonaugh, of South Carolina, won the women's division of the Flying Pig Marathon.

What made McDonaugh's win unique that year was the fact that she is legally blind. She ran the entire course without assistance.

Her story made national headlines. According to ESPN, McDonaugh had started her running career just two years prior when she picked up running to try to lose some baby weight.


8. May 6, 2012: At the 14th Flying Pig, there was the heat, and many individual stories of grit and determination out of the brutal weather. But one story stood out a little more than others last year.

Alison Delgado, the 2005 female winner of the Pig, ran the race in 2012 approximately 18 months after she almost died as a result of a cycling accident involving a vehicle.

Delgado's husband, an emergency room physician, helped save her life after the accident, and trained with her during her recovery. He was also there at the finish line.

"I trained very hard for this race. I wanted to run well today to show I'm back and I can train just like I had before," Delgado said at the finish line with her husband by her side.


9. May 5, 2013: The 15th Flying Pig Marathon promises to be the biggest, with more than 33,000 participants registered to run. That's up from the 6,200 that ran the first year.

In addition, more than $1 million will be raised for charity and special events are planned throughout race weekend, according to race organizers.

And of course, there will be an added level of remembrance and respect in light of the Boston Marathon bombings that happened April 15.

First-time marathoner and Flying Pig runner Carl Siggett Jr. summed it up well: "With it being so close in date, it's safe to say that every runner out there will be carrying a part of Boston with them."



Do you have a favorite moment from 14 years of the Flying Pig? Share them in the comments below.