19 facts about the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon

Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon greeters meet runners flying into the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 2013. (File photo)
Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon greeters meet runners flying into the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 2013. (File photo)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - There are plenty of marathons to run throughout the country, but few races are as unique as the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon.

Just the name, in itself, is interesting. In the 1800s, Cincinnati was a hub for commerce when riverboats plied the Ohio River. Pigs were brought in by boats and marched through the streets of Cincinnati to the processing plants.

Hence the nickname, "Porkopolis."

When Cincinnati celebrated its Bicentennial in 1988, the city decided to renovate the riverfront area. Four smokestacks were built at the entrance to the Bicentennial Commons at Sawyer Point, with four flying pigs on top.

At first, the four little winged piglets caused a lot of controversy. They've since become part of the fabric of Cincinnati culture and have the "best named" marathon in the country.

1. 2014 is the 16th annual Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon.

2. It is the 3rd largest first-time marathon in the United States.

3. An official time from the Flying Pig Marathon can be used to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

4. Participants represent all 50 states and 16 countries including Australia, Brazil and Malaysia.

5. Marathon organizers expect the field to beat 2013's record field of 33,852.

6. Sergio Reyes, 32, of Palmdale, Calif., is the first to win the event three times (2009, 2012 & 2013). He returns this year to defend his title.

7. Reyes won the 2013 event in 2:21:51, which was 13 seconds better than his winning time of 2:22:04 in 2012.

8. Olympic Marathoner Ryan Hall will be at the finish line on marathon morning.

9. In the mid-1990s, a group of avid Cincinnati runners discussed starting a local marathon and the names "Queen City Marathon" and "River City Marathon" were discussed. But in the end, the only fitting name seemed to be one that celebrated the popular flying pigs sculpted along Cincinnati's riverfront.

10. Runner's World magazine once declared the Flying Pig the best named marathon in the country.

11. There's a dog run on Saturday afternoon called the Iams Flying Fur Run. Owners take their furry friends on a two mile loop around the downtown and riverfront areas of Cincinnati.

12 The Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon course goes over three bridges and crosses state lines into Kentucky.

13. The marathon course takes runners through approximately 15 different communities, winding from Northern Kentucky all the way east to the Village Mariemont.

14. Metro offers a Flying Pig day pass and early morning express bus on race day to help runners get to the starting line.

15. Spectators can also purchase the $4.50 pass to follow runners along the route.

16. Approximately 150,000 spectators will line the course cheering on runners throughout the Queen City.

17. More than 125 charities use the marathon as a fundraiser, from manning water stops to sponsoring runners who raise money through pledges.

18. Marathon mascots have stood at the Finish "Swine" since the first year. And yes, it's called the Finish Swine.

19. The full marathon is 26.2 miles. LeBron James would have to go baseline to baseline 1,471 times in a game to run that distance. Reds' Jay Bruce would have to hit 385 home runs to complete a marathon. Bengals QB Andy Dalton would have to string together 231 200-yard passing games to reach the distance.

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