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Return to Flight: Flying Pig makes in-person return to the Tri-State

Flying Pig starting line
Posted at 4:30 PM, Oct 31, 2021

CINCINNATI — Flying Pig officials are celebrating a "return to flight" Sunday after races returned to the Tri-State this weekend.

It had been two years since the full and half marathons were held in-person, and those returning could not contain their excitement.

"I'm nervous, but I'm also excited," Brady Hatton said.

The 14-year-old said it was his first time running the half, while others have been competing in these events for years. Debbie Gormly cheered her on son, who ran the full course on his 30th birthday.

"I'm not going to lie, I think I actually got choked up and I might have shed a couple of tears," Gormly said. "It's just exciting."

Runners noted just how much has changed since racing down the Flying Pig course in Spring 2019.

"It's so much different than running a long run on your own or during a workout on your own, when you see hundreds of people around you, the pain is not as bad as it seems," said Katarina Smiljanec, the third place finisher in the Paycor Half Marathon.

While so many were excited to be back, around 15,000 people took part in this weekend's events in comparison to the 43,000 who ran in 2019. Winner Alex Gold completed the full marathon in just over two hours and 26 minutes.

"To be racing on the place where we train every day is pretty dang cool," Gold said. "I love this city, so this race is what made me fall in love with this place."

Caitlin Keen was the first woman to cross the line at just over two hours and 43 minutes. Keen, who grew up in Cincinnati, won the race in 2018.

"You know, this wasn't possible a year ago. I thought, I didn't know if I was ever going to do this again," Keen said. "I just took a little bit each day, a little more, and finally just decided I could do this again."

For everyone crossing the "Finish Swine," the weekend was all about the joy of being together.

"To get back out here and to be able to do this just really brings a lot of joy back to everybody," Patrick Stock said.

Beyond the course, The Flying Pig raised more than $1.4 million for more than 300 charities this year.