CINCINNATI — One of the most popular Cincinnati traditions, the Flying Pig Marathon, will remain partially virtual this weekend.
“Not everybody is ready for mass gatherings yet, and we try to be very, very careful and in compliance with CDC guidelines,” said Iris Simpson Bush, whose nonprofit Pig Works hosts the marathon.
The marathon alone would bring out around 50,0000 people in an average year before the COVID-19 pandemic, she added.
“In a typical year, we raise over a million dollars for local charities,” she said.
The pandemic forced organizers to delay and then cancel the in-person edition of the race and its accompanying events in 2020.
Despite the growing number of Americans vaccinated against the virus, Simpson Bush decided to hold the marathon virtually again this year. Runners will post their picture and finish time on an app rather than showing up to run together.
“Send us your photo and send us your finish time, and we're good with that,” she said.
Nurse practitioner Mary Sharpshair said it's the smart thing for events in our area to do, even though some federal restrictions are dropping.
“Our bodies are a mystery and always evolving, and, yes, there are variants out there,” she said. “There's no long-term data concerning the vaccinations and how our bodies are going to respond to them long term. We're still seeing patients test positive several weeks out after their second dose of vaccine.”
The Flying Pig Marathon will open up a little bit more this year compared to last. It will have a finish line party at The Banks Sunday starting at 9:30 a.m.
“If you just want to be a part of it, feel free to come down, take photos," Simpson Bush said. "We'll have a small contingency."
She expects more people to show up for future runs later in the year.
“I think we'll see some significant numbers if we're able to bring back the in-person (runs) the second half of the year," she said.