Wednesday, May 12, 1999
Reviews hog wild about Flying Pig Marathon
BY JOHN ERARDI
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Runner's World, the bible for runners, says the inaugural Flying Pig Marathon has received boffo reviews and could increase its field from the 6,200 this year to 10,000 next year.
My boss and several of my colleagues and other people were in Cincinnati, and the rave reviews I've heard from them were the equal or greater than anything I've ever heard, Amby Burfoot, editor of Runner's World magazine, said Tuesday. You can't manufacture warmth and excitement. It just has to happen and it did.
Especially high marks were given to the marathon's organization and the enthusiasm of volunteers and spectators, Burfoot said.
People who went (to Cincinnati) felt the marathon was on center stage the whole weekend, Burfoot said. You know that image of the loneliness of the long-distance runner? Well, fact is, we're all hams; we love being center stage. Word of mouth and word of foot travels quickly. I've heard people say that what was 6,000 this year could easily be 10,000 next year.
In its first year, the Flying Pig is already in or very near the top 10 marathons in the country for total runners, Burfoot said.
Bob Coughlin, the founder of the Flying Pig Marathon, said the goal for next year is the same as it was for this year: 7,500 runners.
Estimates are that probably fewer than 50 percent of the Flying Pig's 3,000 first-time participants will run a marathon again. So how does Coughlin expect to not only make up that difference, but add to it?
From several sources: people who wanted to run in the inaugural event but heard about it too late to train; Team in Training, which sent 200 runners to add to the 300 local members and probably will double that overall number next year; some of the 1,000 relay runners who will want to experience the full marathon; and positive reviews.
We also do national marketing through Runner's World, the various runners' expos and direct mail, Coughlin said.
The New York Times called attention to the Cincinnati marathon in a story in Tuesday's edition. It noted the big first-time field here as evidence that long-distance runners are no longer lonely.
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