CINCINNATI — More than 27,000 people competed in various courses and crossed the finish swine this weekend as the Flying Pig returned to the Queen City.
The race made a return to its familiar spring slot this year, after it was delayed to the fall in 2021 due to COVID-19 — the 2020 race was held virtually because of the pandemic. The delay in 2021 meant organizers had a mere six months to put this weekend's festivities together.
“If we get to be just a small part of helping them achieve their goals, personal goals, if they're doing it for a cause, whatever their reason, whatever their story, that's pretty awesome and very gratifying,” said Iris Simpson Bush, President & CEO of Pig Works.
Pig Works is a non-profit that raises money for other charities by hosting multiple different races — including the Flying Pig — across Cincinnati and the Tri-State area.
Two first-time winners took home the gold in the full marathon race this year.
29-year-old Zac Holtkamp of Alexandria, Kentucky, won the men’s division during his first Flying Pig race.
“I had so much family (and) friends, my old coaches were out there,” he said. “It was awesome.”
34-year-old Grace McCarron of Loveland, Ohio, won the women’s division.
“I never take first place for granted,” she said. “It's really an honor. It’s very humbling.”
A familiar face took home the gold medal in this year’s Paycor Half Marathon. Cincinnati native Caitlin Keen has won the full marathon twice, and now has a medal for the half.
“There's not a lot of words to describe how it feels,” Keen said. “It's the first marathon I ever watched, the first marathon I've ever won. It's the first marathon I've ever won twice. Now it's the first marathon I've won with the half marathon too.”
In the men's division of the Paycor Half Marathon, 43-year-old Josh Whitehead from Alabama won and took home gold.
The marathon raised more than $1.4 million this year for more than 300 charities. Overall, the marathon has an estimated annual economic impact on businesses of $14 million, according to a Xavier University study.
Around 30,000 runners expected at this year's Flying Pig Marathon
Local athletes start training for the Flying Pig
Return of Flying Pig Marathon a family affair