This small town is where Cincinnati’s ‘iconic’ Flying Pig Marathon was born

Race organizers remember coming up with the race on the back of a napkin at an ‘O’Piggyville’ bar 25 years ago.
The Flying Pig Marathon was born in O’Bryonville two and a half decades ago.
Published: May. 1, 2023 at 5:04 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - It is officially Flying Pig Marathon week! Race events start Friday evening and continue all weekend.

A local neighborhood is getting a new name before the race runs through the streets Sunday.

Runners will race through O’Bryonville on Madison Road Sunday on the Flying Pig Marathon course. But this week only, the town, which is technically part of the Evanston neighborhood in Cincinnati, has a new name in honor of the race.

The story goes that the idea to create the Flying Pig Marathon was born in O’Bryonville. It only seems fitting that on this 25th anniversary of the Flying Pig Marathon, the town is renamed to O’Piggyville.

“It’s such an important part to the Flying Pig’s history,” Pigworks CEO and President Iris Simposon-Bush said. “The Fleet Feet store used to be Bob Ronkers Running Spot. That’s where so many of us, myself included, for many, many years met there, and after a run, you’d go across the street to O’Bryon’s. O’Bryon’s, as the folklore has it—and it’s true!— is where the course was designed, the name was finalized.”

BIG ICE Owner and Big Idea Group CEO James Ferguson remembers being asked to create a logo for the one-of-a-kind event.

“I remember 25 years ago I had a meeting with Bob Coughlin, Stacy and Iris,” Ferguson recalled. “And they said, ‘We need a logo.’ And I said, ‘Great! I’ll create the logo.’ And they said, ‘For the flying pig.’ And I said, ‘What’s the flying pig?’ And they said, ‘It’s going to be our marathon.’ And I said, ‘That’s a rather silly name.’”

The race has grown to include 40,000 participants over three days of races.

“The way the pig has grown, you work really hard to try to make it happen, and no one is more surprised than we, I think I can speak for the board and our staff,” Simpson-Bush continued. “We’re so gratified that our community gets behind it. The city fathers, I mean it really is all over our city. It has become iconic in a short 25 years.”

It’s not only the race organizers, but the towns along the race course, that make this a destination for people from all 50 states and 30 countries on this 25th anniversary.

“Hyde Park, Mariemont, Riverside Drive, people are celebrating, cheering, motivating runners,” Simpson-Bush said. “But to have an honor like this in a neighborhood named O’Piggyville for pig week, that’s a pretty cool initiative.”

Starting at 7 a.m. Sunday, O’Piggyville will be rocking. They will have a DJ, mimosas, a sign making station and more.

It will all happen in front of Bean and Barley and will run until noon. After that you can shop, drink or eat at any of the establishments in O’Piggyville.

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