Flying Pig Marathon, Half Marathon 10k, 5k, and Marathon Relay Race Recap
Flying Pig Marathon offers a full weekend of events for everyone, from the Marathon to the “Fur Run” to the 15 foot Piglet Diaper Dash for those 1 year and younger. This city of just 300,000 people brings an outsized amount of energy and support for the runners. After having run the marathon here 3 years ago, team Treasurer Aaron Gaskins and his wife Monica were excited to come back and run with their Cincinnati-based family, who themselves are on a 5-year Flying Pig marathon streak. Head Coach Kat Wang had heard good things about the race and organized team “Donut Babes” to run the relay with some teammates from her collegiate career along with fellow Harrier Jen Gong.
Despite initial weather forecasts of rain, the weather was an ideal 50’s and overcast almost the entire weekend. While this boded well for Monica’s PR goals, others in the Harrier contingent were more concerned with strategizing optimal paces when running races back to back.
For Kat and Aaron, the weekend kicked off on Saturday at 8AM with a 10k followed by a 5k at 10AM, taking out of Pigpen A (the first of many, many pig puns and references of the weekend). Aaron had signed up for the 4-way, an event named after a Skyline Chili dish, which includes the 5k, 10k, and Marathon. He declined the “extra cheese” option that includes a 1 mile race on Friday, likely due to lactose intolerance.
Aaron’s race strategy boiled down to running an easy enough pace to not overly exert himself, while running fast enough that he didn’t totally embarrass himself in any one event. “I felt like I ran a good pace in both Saturday races until I woke up on Marathon Sunday a little dehydrated and quads a bit sore.” Kat said her strategy for the 10K was to treat it like a progression run. “I did not want to go out hard on the 10K and wish that it was a 5K instead at the two-mile marker, especially since I actually had to run a 5K after. This strategy worked perfectly as I felt pretty relaxed for most of the race and felt like I had plenty of energy in my legs to complete the 5K at a decent effort.” She cooled down afterwards with a short jog and ice cream.
Kat was grateful to exceed her own expectations and even get an age group award in the 5k as she had recently been dealing with injuries. “I knew I wasn't going to run a PR in any of the races. Rather, I focused my energies on pushing myself a little harder to see where I am starting from. After a long hiatus from racing, I feel that I need to start re-learning how to distinguish the fine line between being uncomfortable, but surviving versus just being gassed completely during workouts and races.”
Monica set a PR on her first race in 3 years, and while far from any PRs, Aaron was happy to come away with 3rd in the 4-way challenge.
Post/Pre Race Events and Carbo Loading
After Saturday’s races and a quick trip back to the expo to grab some free swag, Monica and Aaron stumbled across a nearby Cinco de Mayo festival, taking in some great music and burritos. As soon as Jen got into town, the Harrier contingent met up with the rest of the relay team for some carbo loading at a Woodburn Brewery. Kat added, “There are a ton of breweries within Cincinnati and you're not far from Kentucky if that's your thing.” Both Kat and Monica gave shout outs to Cincinnati-based Graeter's ice cream for providing the necessary calories to recover from their races.
Marathon Sunday on Cinco de Miles
Despite the other events and activities on tap, the Marathon is the highlight of race weekend. Even during less scenic stretches of the race, there were volunteer “Grunts” throughout cheering and handing out everything from Gatorade to Twizzlers and Kleenex. One of the best stretches is through the Mt Adams/Eden Park neighborhood from mile 6-8. Presumably to make up for the large hill runners are climbing, volunteers, bands, DJs, an Elvis impersonator, and spectators line the streets. Monica was especially amused by the costumes she saw throughout the day. “My favorite part was either the punny signs (‘I like pig butts and I cannot lie!’) or the runner dressed up as bacon eating bacon handed to him by a spectator!”
While Monica turned off at Mile 8 to head towards the half-marathon finish, Aaron and the Donut Babes made their way into the Walnut Hills neighborhoods (yes, more hills! Fun fact: like Rome, San Francisco and Lisbon, Cincinnati is built on seven hills). Before Aaron’s legs started cramping up at mile 17, he spent several miles chatting with a fellow Aaron he met along the way. “I had actually seen a sign during the 5k the day before for ‘A-A-Ron’ that amused me. I had to introduce myself when I heard someone I didn’t know cheering for Aaron during the marathon and figured it must be the same guy.”
Meanwhile, with some team members recovering from injury, Team Donut Babes came into the relay simply looking to stay healthy and have fun. Finishing with a time of 2:56, they achieved that and more, taking 1st place for the women’s relay, and 4th place overall.
While the Harriers were done with racing for the weekend and looking for a good celebratory beer, another racer’s day was just starting. Aaron and Monica’s 9-month-old niece had signed up for the Diaper Dash, a prestigious 15-foot race restricted to the most elite crawlers in the city. Despite a slow start, she dug deep and surged into the lead at foot 5. By foot 10 she had a commanding 4-foot lead on the field, and cruised in for the first gold medal of her promising young career.
2019 Toyota 10k Results
Cincinnati, OH | May 4, 2019 | 8 AM | Half Marathon
Aaron Gaskins | 39:58
Kat Wang | 46:06
2019 Tristate Running Company 5k Results
Cincinnati, OH | May 4, 2019 | 10 AM | Half Marathon
Aaron Gaskins | 20:26
Kat Wang | 21:37
2019 Flying Pig Marathon Results
Cincinnati, OH | May 5, 2019 | 6:30 AM | Marathon & Marathon Relay
Aaron Gaskins | 3:17:55 (4-way total: 4:18:19)
Donut Babes | 2:56:29