CINCINNATI — While it was forced to go virtual in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cincinnati’s annual Flying Pig Weekend is back in full swing. Participants competed in shorter courses Saturday while the full and a half marathon will take place Sunday.

What does it mean for those taking part?

“I love the Pig, I love the atmosphere, I love the people and the excitement…it’s just the best part of Cincinnati,” said Lisa Roa who ran the Toyota 10K.

Being back at the annual event is like being back home for Roa and her teammates.

“Virtual is not my thing,” Roa said. “You know, I can run alone anytime I want to but being able to be together with the community — the running, the walking community. It’s very important to people who enjoy this sort of thing.”

Runners hit the course before sunrise Saturday. The Toyota 10K was one of several races before the full and half marathon on Sunday.

“It’s feelings a little more like getting back to normal,” Roa said. “We didn’t have any of the races. We were kind of running on our own and running in small groups, and now we can be out together.”

RELATED: Road closures in place this weekend for Flying Pig

Third-place male finisher Kyle Becker said he had never run a 10K before.

“You really feed off the energy when you’re out here racing. I was definitely pretty nervous coming into it. But I just kept repeating myself to just race the other people race in and race the other runners and not worry about the time,” Becker said.

For others, it is less about time and more about tradition.

“We’re running a memory of grandpa,” Kathleen Jump said. “Grandpa did the race for 20 years and we lost him to cancer.”

“I feel like it means we can connect with each other over the running, and also we can just have a good time,” said Luke Jump, who also ran the 10K.

Race officials say more than 16,000 people signed up for this weekend’s events. Thousands more volunteered to help.

“Regardless of whether you participate, running, walking, volunteering, spectating, if you’re proud of your hometown marathon, we we’ve accomplished a lot,” Iris Simpson Bush, CEO of Pig Works.

Race officials are encouraging runners to arrive early for Sunday’s Flying Pig Marathon and Queen Bee half marathon.

(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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