He's run over 60 marathons, but the Flying Pig is still special

CINCINNATI -- Running the Flying Pig marathon every year for two decades is an accomplishment that might satisfy any number of other athletes, but Harvey Lewis wants to do one better.

"I'm going to go for my very fastest marathon of my whole life this weekend," he said Thursday. "In a city where pigs fly, there's just no limits."

Lewis' running career encompasses 60 marathons already; the time he hopes to beat on Sunday is a cool two hours and 46 minutes. According to the road race trade organization Running USA, that's more than an hour faster than the median finishing time for male marathon runners in the United States.

He and friend Matthew Garrod run to work each morning to prepare for the Pig and other foot races, which have inspired them over the last 20 years to develop new friendships as well as testing their athletic limits.

"I met my fiancee that way," Lewis said. "I met great friends, so you do meet great people, but you also get to see amazing places."

Those places have included Death Valley, one of the hottest places on the planet, where the Badwater Ultramarathon challenges the most dedicated runners in the world each July. 

Even with that experience under his belt, Lewis said the Flying Pig remains the most special marathon in which he participates, and it would stay that way even if he moved away from Cincinnati. Every year, it allows him to push himself a little more and feel proud of the distance -- both physical and metaphorical -- he's traveled since that first Sunday in 1998.

"You're as old as you feel, right?" Garrod said. "That's the truth. I don't feel old at all."

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