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Flying Pig Course: Turn-by-Turn

by Meghann on May 2, 2012

If you’re running the Flying Pig on Sunday (or plan to run Flying Pig in the future), you might want to take note of the information below. On Monday I received the sweetest email from Madison (who is a Flying Pig fanatic and has run the course multiple times) with great turn-by-turn advice for the race. I’ve copied and pasted the email below (with her permission) because it was too good of information not to share. I’m not sure if all the details on when to hold back, when to speed up, when to expect hills, and when not to expect hills makes me more nervous or less nervous, but it definitely has me mentally feeling more prepared.


(Source: Flying Pig Facebook Page)

I hope you are excited for the Flying Pig… while it is a challenging course, I must say that it is probably my favorite marathon to date! Just a few tips on the course:
  • Miles 1-5 will be pretty crowded, almost to the point where it’s a little frustrating for the first couple of miles. The first four turns on the course are Left, Right, Right, Right, so I would suggest starting in the middle of the road, and after the first turn (about .25 miles) moving to the right hand side of the street.
  • You go over three bridges in the first 4 miles. The first one is the least steep of the three, but none of them are bad, as they are so early in the race.
  • You will hit downtown around mile 5ish…. Once you hit seventh street, just plan on NOT looking at your garmin, because you will probably speed up. The crowds in this part are pretty awesome!
  • After you run through downtown, the 3ish mile climb starts — I promise you it isn’t that bad. Just remember that the climb isn’t really over until you break off from the half marathoners around mile 9. If you think it is over after you run around the BEAUTIFUL overlook(mile 7.5ish), then you will just be setting yourself up for frustration because you will have a steady 3/4 of a mile slight incline after that… it’s the type of incline that you probably wouldn’t notice on a regular day, but since you just ran up a hill for 25+ minutes, it can get annoying.
  • Right when you break off from the half marathoners you will be faced with a slight downhill. It is SO easy to just take off here. DON’T, because after the downhill, you have about 2 miles of rolling hills — not the best time to be picking up the pace… save that for around mile 12.5. Around mile 10 you will pass a convent on your left. There are always nunn’s out cheering. The year I ran the Pig is honestly rained 2 INCHES during the race, but the nunn’s were still out there. Look for them!
  • Mile 11ish will take you past the new lululemon store, so you know there will be a bunch of people cheering!
  • after the 2nd relay exchange (mile 12.5ish), you will have about a 1.25 mile downhill—parts of it being pretty steep. This is the point where you want to gain a bit of time back! (sidenote: I ran this as my first marathon in 2009 with a goal to break four hours… I KNEW that when I couldn’t hit an 8:55ish pace down this hill it wouldn’t get my goal…. so yea, it’s a pretty important part of the course).
  • The next 4ish miles are all rolling hills. Nothing terrible or noteable.
  • Between miles 17-18 you will hit a short, steep hill. You will know it when you see it. There have been times when I have walked up this hill faster than I have run up it. Basically, don’t waste a ton of energy powering up it— it will be over quickly and you won’t lose much time should you decide to take it easy.
  • 18-20ish are run on a highway like road. It’s mostly flat and downhill.
  • Once you get off the interstate, there will be ANOTHER slight incline. You’ll pass a bunch of people here, which makes it more bearable. It’s over in about a quarter of a mile.
  • Miles 21-25 are some of my favorite (i’m in the minority here, though). I run on this road all of the time (eastern avenue) and for some reason, whenever I turn right on to the road, a light switch goes off in my head to just take off…. When you hit eastern avenue, just think of the finish line pulling you in—because it really is a straight shot to downtown. Plus, there is some pretty good scenery. You will see a $1M home next to a shack. It’s odd.
  • Around mile 25.5, you will be faced with a very short, but very steep incline. Honestly, give it 25 good steps and you are up it. Just be prepared.
Overall, the biggest piece of advice that I can give for this race is to try and run a negative split. I think if you try and bank time in the first half, you will just be setting yourself up for failure. Like i said earlier, I ran this course as my first marathon. I ran my personal worst here (4:09), but since then have knocked off about 15 mins of my time. I tried to “bank” time in the beginning, which after I thought about it, was really stupid because the first half is the harder half! That being said, I think the pig is a PR course if you run it smart. The hills allow you to change up the muscles being used in your legs, the scenery always changes, and the crowds are great. Also, the pace teams are AWESOME! If you have the change to run with a pace team, do it!
Madison – you ROCK!
Do you have any Flying Pig course advice to share?

My morning was the same ole, same ole. Maddie and I went for a 2 mile walk around the block, then I completed Tuesday’s Tone It Up challenge ( Bikini Bootcamp), which was fun to jump around a bit and Maddie seemed very entertained by the whole workout (apparently watching me jump causes her to bark and think it’s play time?!).

Breakfast was a treat.


I toasted two of the leftover Oatmeal “Cookie” Pancakes from Sunday and made an Oatmeal “Cookie” Pancake sandwich with plain Chobani, fresh strawberries, and walnuts.


This breakfast was dense and very filling. I met a friend for coffee at a local coffee shop right afterwards and I was so full from the pancakes and greek yogurt that I felt bad for not digging into the mini donut she kindly offered to share with me.


I have more leftover pancakes in the freezer – I will be making this again. 😉

1 Mary @ food and fun on the run May 2, 2012 at 11:37 am

Those pancakes look delish! And what an awesome turn by turn recap! Such great advice for someone running the race! Looking out Flying Pig, Meghann and Kelly are coming to crush you!
Mary @ food and fun on the run recently posted..The Country Music Marathon: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

2 Erin@EverydayEating May 2, 2012 at 11:44 am

Be prepared for Cincinnati weather!!! It can be crazy at times – 80 degrees one day and 40 degrees the next! I ran it in 2010 and it was thunderstorming the entire race! You’ll do awesome! Positive attitude gets you up the hills!
Erin@EverydayEating recently posted..Happy Hydration!

3 Kira May 2, 2012 at 11:47 am

Thanks for posting that! I’m running Flying Pig as my first marathon, so knowing more about it is really helpful. I’ve heard varying things about the hills, but since I train on hills, I’m not too worried. Good luck Sunday!
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4 Emily N May 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Its also MY first, but yeah, the hills aren’t too too bad since I train on THESE hills mentioned. And YES Madison is in the minority on the Eastern Ave thing. It IS weird, but not my favorite. Kind boring… Rumor has it the crowds are light…
Emily N recently posted..Marathon Week – Wednesday: 4 days to go

5 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats May 2, 2012 at 11:54 am

That was so sweet of her to type that all up for you!!
Katie @ Peace Love & Oats recently posted..WIAW–Study Time

6 Mary May 2, 2012 at 11:55 am

Thank you Madison now I am INCREDIBLY nervous! I just hope I finish this race and not tank in the end like I did in chicago! AHH!

7 Cait's Plate May 2, 2012 at 12:22 pm

YUM! Oatmeal cookie pancakes!? I definitely need to make those!
Cait’s Plate recently posted..Slow Start

8 Annette @FitnessPerks May 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Wow, that is quite the response about the marathon! That’s awesome.

Those pancakes look amazing! YUMM.
Annette @FitnessPerks recently posted..Overcoming A Fear

9 Lena @Fit on the Rocks May 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Hills are the bane of my existence, and I live in CO lol. Good luck! At least you can mentally prepare yourself.

10 Grace @ Grace Dishes May 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Great breakdown of the race for any newbies who are nervous about it! Super helpful 😀

Best of luck on your race. You are going to rock it!

I love having something sweet and healthy for dessert so your breakfast looks divine to me 🙂
Grace @ Grace Dishes recently posted..Breathe

11 Kristen @ notsodomesticated May 2, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Wow, what great information for all of the runners! Good luck to all of you!!! 🙂
Kristen @ notsodomesticated recently posted..Every fiber in my being hurts.

12 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City May 2, 2012 at 1:50 pm

I love stacking anything for breakfast. Pancakes, waffles, etc. You can fit so many extra goodies in between the layers, yum 🙂
Lindsay @ Running the Windy City recently posted..WIAW {Avocado Lovin’}

13 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope May 2, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Those pancakes sound amazing! Must try them! 🙂
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14 Hemarie @ I Sweat Pretty May 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Thanks for posting this! This is perfect! I’m going to share it with the rest of the ladies running this with me.

Look out Cinci… Here we come!
Hemarie @ I Sweat Pretty recently posted..Shiny New Running Outfit

15 Jessica May 2, 2012 at 7:47 pm

This has me soooo excited for Sunday’s race! I’m only running the half but it’s my first half. The crowd support is supposed to be great. My boss has run all 13 Flying Pigs. This will be her 14th. She said the crowd support in Hyde Park on Erie Ave is amazing. That’s were the Lululemon store is and they are going to be blasting 80’s music and wearing 80’s gear. I’m sad this isn’t on the half marathon route. It’s super humid in Cincy right now so be prepared for the mugginess.
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16 ADC May 3, 2012 at 4:16 am

Some pre-race insomnia led me to: NOTICEABLY very downhill in the second half. Hate all this humidity chatter, would almost prefer it to rain…well, mist/drizzle. Best of luck everyone!

17 Meghann May 3, 2012 at 9:23 am

This is great! Thanks!

18 ADC May 3, 2012 at 4:25 am

And less helpful, but beyond amazing: Female winner last year is legally blind.

19 Rachelle May 3, 2012 at 8:39 am

Yay! Another Florida girl headed up to Flying Pig! There’s a group of us girls headed up from Orlando tomorrow (including Hemarie who commented above). It’s going to be a fun race! See ya at the finish swine.
Rachelle recently posted..National BBQ Month: A sweet bourbon peach bread pudding

20 Meghann May 3, 2012 at 9:22 am

My sister and I are leaving out of Orlando tomorrow morning too! maybe we’ll be on the same flight!

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