Monday, April 29, 2002

Pig changes not a matter of course

Marathoners will follow same route

By Michael Perry,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Construction in the Greater Cincinnati area affects all kinds of traffic. Including foot traffic.

        Race officials for the Flying Pig Marathon, which is set for Sunday, were looking to make some changes in the 26.2-mile course that would give runners more time in Northern Kentucky, specifically Newport and Covington.

        But construction has prevented that — this year.

        This will be the first time in the Flying Pig's four-year tenure that the course will be unchanged from the previous year. Race director Rich Williams is certain that will change in 2003.

        In addition to more time in Kentucky, Williams said, the starting line — Seventh Street between Elm and Race — may need to be moved to a more open area, such as Central Parkway.

        While the course may not be new, there are several additions this year:

        • Waffle House Bonus Program: If the men's and/or women's winner breaks the course record, a $10,000 bonus will be awarded. Rebecca Gallaher set the women's mark (2:49:31) in 1990, and Elly Rono set the men's record (2:21:15) in 1999. Last year, the race offered $5,000 bonuses, neither of which was earned.

        • No prize money: Last year's winners each earned $2,000, but the Flying Pig is doing away with prize money. It wasn't enough to draw big names from outside the area, and now the event will be able to donate more money to charities, which was one of the original goals of the Flying Pig. Last year, the event helped raise $700,000 for more than 30 area charities; now, more than 40 charities will benefit.

        • Outback Steakhouse 2-person relay: The first member will run 12.1 miles and the second 14.1 miles. The handoff will be at Delta Avenue, just before the turn onto Eastern Avenue. There are men's, women's and co-ed teams.

        “What's starting to be common at other races is the idea of having a half-marathon,” Williams said. “With the relays and the 5 mile, it's almost like a stepping stone for people.”

        There are also four-person marathon relay teams and the Papa John's Flying Pig 5-mile Run.

        • Challenge Series: There is the Greater Cincinnati YMCA Challenge, a competition for teams representing area YMCAs.

        There is also the City Challenge, which matches Cincinnati against four-person relay teams, which must include at least one female, from Columbus, Dayton, Akron, Cleveland, Toledo, Canton, Lexington, Louisville and Indianapolis.


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