Monday, April 27, 2009

So with all this talk about the swine flu...

Should I be worried about running in a marathon that is named after pigs? hmmmm.... Not to worry, I will avoid touching my eyes, nose and mouth. I also plan to wash my hands frequently and might even run with a mask (or not). My Dad has advised for years that pork should be well done so in case there is pork on the menu at the pasta party or after event, I will make sure it is well done this weekend!

An interesting story on why the race is named the flying pig...


If there is one question asked more often than others about the Flying Pig Marathon, it's "Why a Flying Pig?" Even Greater Cincinnatians who cherish the pig, may not know it's storied past in the history of the Queen City.

In the 1800s, when riverboats plied the Ohio River, Cincinnati was a center of Western commerce. Since agriculture was a prime source of revenue in this area, boats filled with livestock and produce would dock in Cincinnati to sell their wares. Hogs were a major source of income for farmers here, as well, so pigs that were brought in by boat, or herded into town from area farms, were marched through the streets of Cincinnati to the processing plants. So many, in fact, that Cincinnati came to be known as "Porkopolis."

Fast forward to 1988, when Cincinnati celebrated its Bicentennial. To mark the occasion, the city decided to renovate its riverfront area to include a "Bicentennial Commons" park. Noted designer Andrew Leicester, was commissioned to design the commons, which was to reflect the city's past. When he submitted his plans, one signature feature caught everyone's attention: The entrance to Bicentennial Commons would be four smokestacks, for the city's riverboat heritage, with four flying pigs on top, reflecting, according to Leicester, the spirits of the pigs who gave their lives so that the city could grow.

After much outcry in City Council, who donned pig noses to debate whether the swine symbols would make the city the laughing stock of the country, the project was approved and the pigs became the signature sculpture of the new Cincinnati Riverfront.

In the mid-1990s, when a group of avid Cincinnati runners discussed starting a local marathon, the names "Queen City Marathon" and "River City Marathon" were discussed. But in the end, the only fitting name seemed to be one that continued to honor those popular pigs that once were ridiculed and now are celebrated. The "Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon" logo, bags and distinctive medals are prized possessions for runners around the country and, indeed around the world, leading Runner's World Magazine to call it the 'best named' marathon in the country!

So now you know! Tomorrow, I have my first masters swim group at Lifetime and a tennis match tomorrow night. Have a great Tuesday!


lindsay said...

it is kind of a random name if you think about it, but not once you know the story. hope swimming and tennis go well and enjoy your taper week! (maybe avoid bacon though?) ;)

Anonymous said...

I wondered about that too. I have a couple folks from my running crew going this weekend. Have a good race :)