This Pigtale comes from Deborah M.
I met Nicole on a very cold, snowy day a year ago. Only a few showed up for a training run after it had been
canceled. And it wasn’t long before the 2 of us fell behind and were out on icy country roads alone. My first thought
was what am I going to talk to her about for 11 miles? And by the end of that run, I knew I had met my "sole mate",
my running partner, my best friend.
Since that day last January, we have run together almost every single day, we have finished 7 half marathons
side by side. And we ran our first marathon (Flying Pig) together. Stepping on the finish line side by side with
my best friend was the greatest day of my life. I had no intentions of running a marathon. But I tagged along for
most of the training runs- mainly to keep Nicole company. And the week before I realized I could not let my best
friend run alone. I was going to tag along to keep her company.
My biggest fear was dragging her down, becoming a DNF and mostly, letting her down. We said less than
10 words to each other the entire marathon. We were in sync, stride by stride. Never leaving each other's side.
We communicated with looks and facial expressions. I knew exactly what she was thinking at every moment.
I struggled miles 6-9. She talked me through it. She struggled miles 23-24. I got her through it. And when we
stepped on the finish line, we both looked at each other and started crying.
Nicole is there for me during every run. I started to open up to her. I told her about my struggles
with an eating disorder. And dealing with weak legs because of MS. She made sure I ate nutritious
meals during training. She held me up when my legs were jello after a long run. And she was there
the day my life changed forever. The day I decided to step up to the start line. The day I was no longer the
girl with anorexia. Or the girl with MS. I was a Marathoner. There is no one I would rather step up to the
start line with. And I know she will be by my side from start to finish for a lifetime. #FlyingPig2016
This Pigtale comes from Sarah E.
I've never been an athlete. I grew up with two brothers who played all kinds of sports, while I was always
more in the arts. But oh, did I want to be an athlete. I even ran cross country in middle school to try to be
like them, but I wound up trying to injure myself so I wouldn't have to run in the races.
My husband and I moved to Colorado one summer, where I realized that exercise shouldn't just
something to "have" to do, to suffer through a workout to lose a pound, or a means to an end.
I started running. And I liked it. I liked the quiet time, the feeling of accomplishment. We came back
to Ohio and I started running in my free time.
In 2010, my brothers, Eric and Brett, noticed my obvious athlete-ness, and we decided to run a
half marathon. It was rough. We began training, and would text each other every day to check
off our workout. In December, Eric was deployed to Baghdad, but Brett and I continued our training.
On the day of the Flying Pig, Brett and I ran the half in the pouring rain, while Eric ran his half on
a treadmill in Baghdad. Fast forward 3 years, when we decided to register for another half marathon.
Low and behold, Brett was deployed to Afghanistan. Eric and I continued our training and ran the
Indy500 half that year, and the Indy500 race sent a race packet to Brett, who ran his half in Afghanistan.
Again, fast forward 3 years to 2016. Somehow, I'm still running. There have been 3 weddings
and 3 babies. Both of my brothers are out of the army, living across the US, and we decided it was
time to up the game. We are all three registered to run the full Flying Pig Marathon this spring.
We're still texting each other the workouts every morning because I would cheat without it.
I've run a half with each of my brothers separately, and now it's time for all three of us to run a full.
I can't wait. Maybe then I'll actually consider myself an athlete.
This Pigtale comes from Mark A.
I am "Big on the Pig" because in 2014 I completed my first half marathon. Not a big deal by some standards,
however for me it was a huge turning point in my life.
I am a firefighter and in 2014 I had two people that I knew personally take their lives. I felt compelled to make
sure that their deaths were not in vain. I became affiliated with an organization, Firefighter Behavioral
Health Alliance, which raises awareness for firefighter/EMT suicides. I started training for
my brothers who no longer had a voice.
In the months that led up to the Pig, I was getting more in shape and decided to run in full turnout gear.
I started training in earnest in April 2014 with the full gear. Through the recognition I received by a story
aired on WLWT, we were able to get the message out to the nation and beyond to firefighters in the USA
and Canada and as far away as Australia were tweeting their support. I finished my first half in 2:55. After the
fact I was honored to have been recognized by the Northern KY Firefighters Association as Firefighter of the
Year 2014, University of Cincinnati as the Hometown Hero on October 4, 2014 and the Campbell County
Rotary Club as Emergency Personnel of the Year as well.
But the biggest accomplishment achieved was the weight that I was able to lose and keep off. I lost 125lbs
through my training and have been able to maintain that loss. So, I feel that my story may have helped
those first responders who may have needed to seek help, and also saved my life from a health standpoint.
And that is why I am "Big on the Pig".
This Pigtale comes from Kate F.
Finishing the Fly Pig Half Marathon in May of 2009 was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. I have
struggled with my self-image since I was a little girl. Growing up with two very athletic brothers, I often shied
away from sports because I knew I didn't have the typical "athletic body."
In the Fall of 2008, I decided to start training for the Flying Pig. I could barely believe it when I told people
what I was doing. Two of my biggest supporters were my brothers. I remember being with my family on a
Saturday morning towards the end of my training. I was dreading a long run I had to do and my brother
gave me a pep talk that I'll never forget. He took me outside and he said, "if you do this - it will be the most
athletic thing anyone in our family has ever done." It brought me to tears thinking about all of the things
that they had done as athletes and hearing him say those words to me.
I'm from MA and my whole family came to OH for the race weekend. They made signs and got up early to wait
with me at the start line - both my brothers rubbing my shoulders and encouraging me as we listened to loud
music being pumped over the speakers. It was something I will never forget. They mapped out the course and
were waiting for me at several mile markers along the way.
I remember running through one neighborhood where all the residents were camped out on their lawns,
blaring music, and cheering all the runners on...talk about an adrenaline rush. I finished the race and
immediately knew I had done something incredible. I had pushed myself in ways I never had before.
It was amazing to have the support of my family and friends and what felt like the entire city of Cincinnati!
It was a "pigtale" I'll remember for the rest of my life.
This Pigtale comes from Catie G.
My "pigtale" turned into a fairytale! Last year my boyfriend and I ran the 5K together. We were running coaches
for Bob Roncker's Running Spot, Sit to Fit program. We were each on different intervals, so he finished a little
bit before me. We hadn't really discussed where to meet after the race, so that kept running through my mind.
Low and behold after the race he was waiting at the "finish swine" for me. I walked over with open arms for a
nice big sweaty hug, instead of a hug, he dropped to a knee. He looked at me, and said ‘you're my best friend,
I love you, and will you marry me’?
I thought for sure he was joking...I asked him if he was serious or joking. He said no, I am serious… I said
Oh my gosh, yes!! He told me he had no intention of popping the question that day, but the moment felt right!
My family was there, and caught it on video too! It was perfect, even though I had to wait to get my ring since
it was a ‘pop proposal’.
We are getting married in June 2016!!
This Pigtale comes from John J.
My wife Catherine and I decided to run the Pig half in 2014. This was the first race either of us had ever
run longer than a 5k. We were very excited and started training in December when we found out that
Catherine was pregnant with our daughter, Josie! We decided to run/walk the even though Catherine would
be 5 months pregnant because Catherine is a tough gal and loved the challenge!
I decided to surprise Catherine and request that a sign be made that said "Run Baby J, Run!" (we nicknamed
her Baby J for the pregnancy!), but I realized with all the signs held up along the race we would probably
never see it. Signs and cheering supporters were everywhere, it was such an amazing experience but it felt
unlikely that I would spot our sign. To my surprise, Catherine looked to our left and said "does that say what
I think it says?!" and sure enough, someone was holding Baby J's sign! Catherine immediately started crying,
she was so proud to run this race for Josie and it meant a lot to her that we finish the race. I truly believe that
the sign gave her what she needed to finish.
I am actually submitting this entry for Catherine - she's extremely passionate about running and she's an
amazing mother but I would like her to make more time to run races. Who knows, maybe by the time this
race comes around we'll find out that Josie has a sibling on the way!
This Pigtale comes from Nicole H.
My favorite "pigtale" is of my dog, Buddy's first race last year. He got to do the flying pig as a fundraiser for
Imagine No Malaria (he raised more than I did, I think).
He was so excited to run with all of the other dogs, that we ran our best 2mile time ever! He was not a fan of
the public water buckets, though, so he waited to drink anything until the end of the race, when I got a water bottle.
He stole it from me, and stuck his tongue right in the bottle! Here is a picture of him, post-race,
proudly wearing his first ever medal!
This Pigtale comes from Anne C.
In 2006, I was a junior at the University of Dayton and decided 'Hey, maybe I should run a half marathon'.
Being a 'reluctant runner' I managed to motivate myself to train and successfully completed that year's Flying
Pig Half Marathon, my first half, and first event beyond a 5K at that time.
Now, 10 years later, I find myself again signed up to run The Pig. In between, I left Ohio for graduate school
but returned to my alma mater as faculty in 2013. Then, in August of 2014 my world was rocked by a
stage III breast cancer diagnosis. 2015 was full of a lot of chemo, radiation, and surgeries but once in remission,
I recovered to run again, finishing the Columbus 1/2 in October.
Another surgery later, and I'm training again, this time for a 10th anniversary trip to the hills (ugh) of Cincinnati.
Many things have changed since that first run a decade ago (jobs, permanent residences, my haircut...), but
some things have stayed the same...I have a goal for the future, I know the necessary steps to get there, there
will be support along the way, and that ultimately, the challenge is half the fun!