Saturday, May 1, 2004

New champions likely for Flying Pig

By Colleen Kane
The Cincinnati Enquirer

For the third year in a row, it's likely the Flying Pig Marathon will have new champions in the men's and women's races Sunday.

As of Friday, defending champions John Aerni and Lisa Veneziano had not registered for the sixth running of the event. Pig communications director Betsy Ross said Aerni is teaching in Alaska and that she had not heard from Veneziano.

Click for a printable PDF map of the Flying Pig race course.

Other printable maps
(GIF image files):
10k course
5k course

All runners have until 6 p.m. today to register at the Bob Roncker's Running Spot Health and Fitness Expo at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. The race begins at 6:30 a.m. Sunday (5 a.m. walk start, 6:28 a.m. wheelchair start).

Aerni won last year in 2:27:44, Veneziano in 2:57:54. Rudolf Jun and Rebecca Gallaher are the lone runners to defend their Pig titles, both repeating in 2001. Without the 2003 winners, the front-runner to bring home this year's bacon is anybody's guess, especially since many runners sign up at the last minute, Ross said. The 2003 runners-up, Pellegrino Ciccarello and Cassandra McCune, had not registered as of Friday afternoon either.

Dave Ackerman, 35, of Milford is one of the top registered prospects on the men's side, Ross said. Ackerman, whose mother confirmed Friday that he is planning to run, finished third in the 2003 Pig with a time of 2:39:50. Cincinnati's George Willoughby, 39, a previous top-10 finisher, also is registered.

On the women's side, 2004 Heart Mini-Marathon winner PJ Ball, 25, a graduate student and former distance runner at UC, confirmed Friday that she will run in her fourth marathon Sunday, her first since a "terrible" run in Boston last year.

"It was the worst experience I've ever had," Ball said. "I told everyone I'd never ever run one again last time, but my friends told me not to give it upI'd love to get a good time, but I'll see how I feel."

Ball said the "enthusiasm" at the Heart Mini-Marathon this year helped push her in her training, which she did with three friends. She finished fifth in the 2002 Pig with a time of 3:05:30.

Also registered to run this year is 2003 fourth-place women's finisher Laurie Davis, 38, of Cincinnati. Davis finished last year less than five minutes off Veneziano, in 3:02:30. Emma Bracey, 35, of Cincinnati finished eighth for women in the 2003 Pig and is signed up to run again.

The second Papa John's 10K also will be run Sunday. The first Flying Pig 5K will be today at Sawyer Point. All events will take place rain or shine, unless lightning is spotted. Any postponements will be daily, with no plans to reschedule events for later dates.

If you go

• For spectators hoping to catch the marathoners along the course, the runners head out of downtown and should hit Eden Park (miles 6-8) - and the route's worst hills - between 7 and 8:30 a.m. Hyde Park Square (mile 11), another popular cheering spot, should see runners between 7:30 and 9 a.m. The new addition of Mariemont (miles 15-17) can keep watch for marathoners from 7:45 until 10:45 a.m.

• The rest of the course follows Columbia Parkway and Eastern Avenue to the finish. To cheer the runners past "the wall" at mile 20, spectators should go to Eastern Avenue after Linwood between 8:15 and 11:30 a.m. The finish line at Yeatman's Cove should welcome the top wheelchair finishers by 8:20 a.m. and the top runners by 8:45 a.m. The finish line will close at 1:05 p.m.

• Looking to avoid traffic? Stay away from all streets south of Fourth Street downtown after 6 a.m. They will reopen by 8 a.m. when the runners have cleared. For most of the rest of the marathon route, runners will use one side of the street, and the other side will be available for driving in the opposite direction. Organizers will start to set up the course by 5 a.m. and will clean up when the race moves past that point. Arrive early for downtown parking.

Flying Pig schedule


At N.Ky. Convention Center, Covington

• 10 a.m.-7 p.m.: Bob Roncker's Running Spot Health and Fitness Expo; registration and packet pickup for Papa John's 10K and the marathon

At Sawyer Point

• 8 a.m.: Registration and packet pickup for Flying Piglet Kids' Fun Run and Festival

• 9 a.m.: Flying Piglet activities

• 11 a.m.: Flying Pig 5K and Fun Festival

At Atrium II, 221 E. 4th Street,


• 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m.: Cinergy Foundation pasta party.


On Mehring Way, downtown

• 5 a.m.: Walk start

• 6:28 a.m.: Wheelchair start

• 6:30 a.m.: Flying Pig Marathon and Relay start

• 6:50 a.m.: Papa John's 10K start

At Sawyer Point

• 9 a.m.-2 p.m.: Michelob Ultra Victory Party

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