The Flying Pig Marathon: A Celebration of Cincinnati Culture and Community

Cincinnati is buzzing with excitement this weekend as many prepare for and run the annual Flying Pig Marathon which has become an iconic and highly-anticipated event since its inception in 1999. We’ve culled a list of 10 fun and interesting facts about the epic event that everyone’s been talking about!

  1. Origin: The marathon’s name comes from our fair city’s nickname, “Porkopolis,” due to its historical association with the pork industry (yum!). The term “flying pig” also references the idea of doing something impossible or unlikely- in this case, running a marathon!
  2. Inception: The Flying Pig Marathon was first held 1999. It was created by Bob Coughlin, who wanted to showcase Cincinnati’s neighborhoods and provide a fun, inclusive event for runners of all levels.
  3. Races: The marathon offers multiple race options, including a full marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K, and 4-person relay. There is also a “PigAbilities” race for participants with disabilities to run, walk, or roll at their own pace; a “Flying Piglet” race for little ones aged 5 and under, and a “Flying Fur” race for dogs and their owners!
  4. Courses: The courses wind through Cincinnati’s scenic riverfront, downtown, and historic neighborhoods, providing participants with a unique and memorable experience. The Pig is also known for a number of very challenging hills along the way, with a total elevation gain of over 1,000 feet! (That could make you breathless just thinking about it!)
  5. Community Spirit: One of the most remarkable aspects of the Flying Pig Marathon is its massive community support and the strong spirit of belonging it offers. With over 40,000 race participants, more than 8,000 volunteers, and approximately 100,000 spectators, you are bound to feel a part of something much larger than yourself!
DL MoneyMatters Senior Accountant, Sarah Frick, fondly recalls her first Flying Pig Half Marathon 10 years ago. She shares that the energy, support, and excitement of the spectators, holding their handmade signs and shouting words of encouragement, made the race quite an emotional experience for her!
  1. Local Business and Economic Impact: A 2023 study by Burke Inc. and Xavier University found that last year’s race weekend generated $22 million in economic impact for the city! That’s nothing to “snort” at! (Sorry! Pig pun alert!)
  2. Charitable Impact: The Flying Pig Marathon has a significant charitable impact, raising funds and awareness for various local organizations and causes. Over the years, the Pig has raised more than $18 million for over 250 charities supporting community initiatives, health programs, youth development, and many other deserving causes!
  3. Flying Pig Mascot: The marathon’s mascot, a flying pig named “Pigasus,” embodies the event’s whimsical spirit. Pigasus can be seen at various locations along the race routes, offering encouragement to participants.
  4. Unique Features: The marathon is known for its quirky features, such as “flying pigs” along the course, themed water stations, and entertainment provided by local bands and performers. These elements add to the festive atmosphere of the event.
  5. Celebrations: The Flying Pig Marathon is not just about running; it’s also a celebration of Cincinnati’s culture, food, and music. The weekend-long event typically includes a variety of festivities, including an expo, pasta dinner, and post-race party.

Overall, the Flying Pig Marathon has grown into one of the premier running events in the United States, attracting participants from across the country and beyond. Its unique charm, community spirit, and scenic courses continue to make it a favorite among runners of all ages and abilities. Today, let’s celebrate the runners, volunteers, businesses, and supporters of this incredible event that is a source of great pride for our magnificent city!

For more information, photos, or to follow your favorite runner, visit the Flying Pig’s official website at: