Brian Johnson (MM8807, DA707, HF7287)
To say the Flying Marathon on May 7 was an adventure would be an understatement. But there is a bit of a build up to get to that point.
I started Marathoning 10 years ago. I have never completed this race. I have heard about the hills and how “legendary” they are and just never signed up.
In 2022, after the Flying Pig Race that year, one of my running friends, Heather, had made a post wondering if anyone would help her complete her first full marathon in 2023 at the Flying Pig. I immediately said yes. She asked me a couple of questions to make sure I was serious. I was. At that point, she knew that she had a run partner for the Flying Pig Marathon 2023.
There are a lot of different races you can do over the weekend. I chose to do just the marathon. I drove down from Columbus to Cincinnati on Saturday afternoon. It was about a 2 hour drive.
The expo was very cool. It definitely made you feel welcome as you entered. Not all expos do that. All of the different pigs were neat.
I eventually worked my way back to my hotel, had a dinner across the street at a restaurant (wings, cheese sticks and beer), and got ready for the next day.
The downside with the Flying Pig is that the race starts at 6:30 am. If you are staying way outside of downtown, (like me) its an early morning (about 4:30).
I drove in, (about 25 minute drive) found a parking spot in a ramp almost right away, and got ready for the day.
There was a planned Marathon Maniacs/Half Fanatics Group Picture for 6am. There was also a storm coming in. So, the weather played into how many people were able to be there for the photo. I was able to get a few photos of Marathon Maniacs/Half Fanatics as I saw them.
I was able to connect with Heather so we could work on completing her marathon. That wasn’t easy since there was more than 15000 people trying to start the race.
Now lets talk about the rain.
Link to the local News
We heard them announce the on time start. We started on time. By the time we were at the first mile, the rain started. By the time we were in the second mile, it was a really bad thunder/lightning storm.
By the third mile, so much rain had come down so quickly we had this.
Me being a trail runner, I ran through it. because, well. Why not?
It rained and was miserable for more than the next 3 hours. It wasn’t until the second half of the race before the weather got better.
The Flying Pig Race had wonderful crowd support. Even in the middle of a downpour, people were out there cheering us on.
The view at the top of the big hill was worth the 2 mile climb.
Along the way I kept running into friends. Heather and I would be going along and I would hear, “Brian Johnson?” I would look over and it would be someone I knew that I wasn’t expecting at that point of the day.
I also would occasionally run into people who would offer me something to drink. During the race, I had a mimosa, 2 small beers, and 2 large beers.
If you are paying attention on the race course, there are many unique things to see along the way.
Our day was long but eventful. We got through the first half of the race ok. We were doing run/walk intervals. The rain went a long way toward destroying that plan. We eventually were at a walk most of the day.
Heather said she felt bad because she wanted me to have a good race experience. I occasionally would remind her, “Today isn’t about me. It’s about you and helping you complete your first marathon. I’m fine.”
Around mile 9 were were looking for the 7 hour sweeper. We kept taking guesses on when we would see him. We didn’t see him until way later and at a time we weren’t anticipating.
At one point around mile 12 we both stopped to use the rest room. We think he passed us then. Imagine our surprise when we saw him in front of us a few miles later and the police/sweepers behind us. That caused us to keep moving a little faster than we were planning.
Eventually around mile 21, the police came by and told us we would have to get up onto the sidewalk to keep going because we would finish after the cutoff.
That was ok, except the sidewalk in some areas was muddy.
Heather saved us because she was familiar with that part of the course from doing the Flying Pig Relay. She always knew where we were.
At mile 23, an unexpected savior/guardian angel appeared. Jackie.
Jackie had parked at the end and had come back to find Heather (3 miles up) to help her complete the race also. She had water and snacks and everything a person could need to keep going. She was great. She also started her music and that really helped us change focus and get the energy back into our day.
We eventually got near the end. Jackie ran ahead so she could take photos of us finishing.
My running friend Lisa was also there to see us finish.
We were some of the last people to cross the finish line. But we finished! And for the way the day started out, to be able to get to the end like we did, was just an accomplishment in and of itself.
The best part of all, Heather is now officially a Marathoner! Great job!
Photo and Post Credit Brian Johnson, Lisa Giambra, Jacqueline Schriver,