Saturday, May 11, 2013

Flying Pig Marathon ~ Race Ratings!

If you followed me on Steph's 50 Marathon Challenge you will be very familiar with my "Race Ratings"-- a full, detailed, review of every aspect of each marathon. I'm eventually going to consolidate the race ratings to one place, but this if the first official second of the new blog! Hopefully more to come-- well at the very least 21 more to go to 100! Enjoy...

Tagline: "Come fly with the pigs in Porkopolis"
Flying Pig Marathon ~ May 5, 2013
Cincinnati, OH ~ Downtown/Northern KY
Type: 100% Road
Year Running:15
Registration Fees: $75 early up to $115 late/at expo
Charity Race?: There are various ways to contribute charitable donations as part of the race and the Flying Pig has a list of (mostly) local charities that it supports, including: Cincinnati symphony, junior achievement  boys and girls club of Cincinnati, etc.
Runners: 4135... 1791 female
Available Races: Marathon, Half, Full Relay, 10k, 5k, 1 mile, kids run
Average Finish Time: 4:31:52
Boston Qualifyer? Yes. BQ%: 8.1%
Course Time Limit: 7 hour time limit and a 16 min mile pace must be maintained

Overall Race Rating: 4.9/5
Average Calculated Race Rating: 4.8
~These race directors know how to put on a marathon and bring the whole city into it! They place spectators, bands, fun "extras" all throughout the race, right when you need it. They reach out to the city so everybody gets into the race and boy has it become QUITE the festival in itself. This is the only marathon I've ever seen that has built up an entire weekend festival around the marathon itself-- and I've been to a lot of marathons! The swag is killer, as is the expo and the downtown area of the Cincinnati gets bigger every year so there is plenty to do in the area. I may be slightly biased because this is my local marathon, but I challenge you to come out and check it out for yourself. You'll want to do it every single year. Don't worry... I'll keep a spare room open for you.
Let's Play Race Director...
~ The biggest downfall of the race is the course distance-- I heard by MANY people, they clocked a much longer distance than 26.2. The second issue is the pricey airport costs to get into Cincinnati, but that really can't be helped by the race directors.

Event Organization: 4.9/5.0 (As far as event organization, this will include things like host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race itself, etc)
Distance from Airport: 12
Rental Car Required: Not necessarily. Getting a hotel downtown or in northern KY with a shuttle is key, but even a tax from the airport is only $20. Everything is within walking distance from the hotel to the race to the festivities and resturants. It IS a little harder to get a hotel at the last minute so plan ahead.

(Plenty to do in Cincinnati  From left to right: meeting a tarahumara runner at the 1-mile race, get a drink at a local brewery, go to the zoo)

~The location is fantastic- another city marathon. Everything is in the small downtown area so you are within walking distance to anything you need. The website has an abundance of information and they send emails all year! There are a number of races put on from Friday through Sunday and during that time there are all kind of events, concerts, etc., going on that make up a kind of festival... all for a marathon! Usually it's the other way around. If you go- take advantage of all the events of the weekend, including the kids "fun run" because you'll get to cheer on some pretty intense little ones! I'm kind of obsessed with this child-- her amazing form is only outdone by the intense look of "IF YOU BEAT ME I'LL KILL YOU" Love her!

Race Organization: 4.9/5.0
Hydration (color and type): Yellow gatorade at 29 fluid stations!
GEL type/flavor/availability: Powerbar Energy gels at miles 18 and 22.
Post Race Food: Every kind of little debbie snack you can imagine! Of course bagels, sun chips, fruits, etc. There is always plenty.
~Overall the organization in this race is phenomenal! It has turned into quite the large race with the full and half, but you never feel overly stressed like you do in typical large races. There were water stations every single mile and the volunteers (or "grunts" as they are called) are very well trained. Regular rest areas and plenty at the start. Complimentary massages are available at the end. This event isn't just a marathon- it's a marathon of races all weekend! The only negative point I would say, are the mile markers (and the distance-- 26.5??).

Course: 4.0/5.0
Marathon Guide Rating: 4.5/5
Garmin Distance: 26.5! ~ Not happy about this. I felt like the course had changed slightly from years past.
Elevation Gain/Loss: 831 ft gain/ 803 ft loss
~This is a challenging course! If you're expecting something fast, you're being unrealistic. If you're looking for a challenge-- this is the place for you! It's extremely hilly with some long stretches of steep inclines. If you go into it with that mentality you'll be ok. The last 4 miles is extremely flat and boring after spending the first 22 with varying elevation and changing neighborhoods constantly. The last 4 is a long stretch with nothing to look at and quite boring.

Spectators: 5/5
~I promise you will never meet a group of spectators at any race like you do at the flying pig. Rain or shine they are out there the entire way giving you support, booze, candy, cookies, balloon animal hats, and a TON of energy. There are whole neighborhoods having parties at 9am, covering their front lawns. You just have to come and experience it for yourself.

Pace Groups: 4.8/5
~There are 17 pace groups for the full and 10 for the half. The full runs from 3:05 up to 5:30 and are composed of the many experienced runners we have in the area. I didn't run with any for any stretch of time, but I spent the second half speeding up, so I was able to run by a lot of them and they were running like clockwork. They were highly visible and seemed to be full of energy.

Runner/Corrals Pig Pens: 4.9/5
~Corrals: The corrals are pretty well structured with 8 groups (A-H). The release of them seemed to go off very well. There weren't a ton of slow people placing themselves ahead, nor were there a lot of people weeving in and out. I attribute that, partly, to this race being a big "first time marathoner" race, so those people don't know better and won't put themselves in the first corral then run a 10 min/mile pace.
~Runners: Runners in the pig are pretty friendly and fun. They get into all the crazy things going on along the course and a TON of people where piggy pink.

Expo: 4.9/5
The expo goes on FOR-EV-ER! But it's awesome! They bring in all kind of vendors with a ton of freebies. You could make a meal of just the expo. P&G is also highly involved so there is an entire bath and body give-a-way section.You could also take pictures with a giant toilet! Why? Uhhhh better questions is why not...

Swag: 5/5
~T-Shirts: I love the flying pig shirts. They are always themed each year and this year was "The Hero in all of Us" and was kind of bat-pig themed. The size and cut of the shirts are fantastic. And the front design is cute, but still athletic. Of course the back has a little pig tail toward  the bottom! 4.8

~Medals: Everybody falls in love with the pig medals! Pig on the front, pig butt on the back! This year, for the 15th anniversary they were 15% larger and quite heavy. The lanyards are fantastic! They even give out different medals for the half and full with the half being slightly smaller, and more of a bronze color. 4.8

~Goodies/Others: If you are looking for goodies and extras you have come to the right place! This race always gives out some kind of nice bag and each year it's a little different. I've seen book bags, messenger bags, duffal bags, etc. This year we got a really cool looking soft cooler! They also give out a nice collectible poster. Similar to the KY Derby Marathon from the week prior, the pig also has a virtual goody bag! This includes discounts off local running stores, freebies from local restaurants, coupons for many other types of retailers, as well as discounts off races!

Chip Time: 4:12:42
Place... Overall: 1632/4135, Gender: 497/1791, A/G: 95/314

"Run to Win" -Meb

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