A record number of runners completed weekend races at the 15th Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon.
Iris Simpson Bush, executive director, said combined participation hit 34,000 — a record for the annual series of 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon races.
“The Flying Pig Marathon prepared for an additional number of registrants for each race due to the growing support for the Marathon in light of the Boston Marathon tragedy and also extended its online registration,” Simpson Bush said.
Simpson Bush said increased security in light of the bombings in Boston that killed three and injured hundreds included a more uniformed personnel at the start, finish and along the courses and a higher level of credentials in certain areas.
Around 4 a.m. Sunday, police crews did a sweep of the area with bomb dogs around the start and finish lines and surrounding vehicles.
“There was not an incident; it was done as a precautionary measure and not at all needed,” Simpson Bush said. “It’s not bad for the general public to see the officers and know they are there and prepared when you need them.”
Maureen Heintz of West Chester Twp. — who ran her first, and now only, Boston Marathon this year — completed the Flying Pig Half Marathon, as well as a half marathon last weekend at the Kentucky Derby Festival in Louisville.
Heintz said she still has flashbacks to the bombings in Boston. She finished the race in three hours and 58 minutes — just under her goal of four hours — but stuck around the finish line to soak in the atmosphere.
“Since the marathon in Boston I always think of mile 24 where I made the decision to kick it in,” Heintz said. “I usually run a 4:08 and that’s exactly when the bomb went off.”
After the first explosion, Heintz said an officer she was speaking with said he thought it was a bomb. She turned around in time to see smoke from the second explosion before people began evacuating.
Heintz rushed to a row of yellow buses to claim her belongings, and recalls all the runners and volunteers helping each other until everyone had their bags.
“The buses were lined up by the thousands; no doubt we thought he’d try to blow the buses,” Heintz said.
Heintz said her family business, Mojo Running in West Chester, had about eight members of its running team in Boston. About 38 completed races in Louisville and 41 at this year’s Flying Pig.
“I wasn’t afraid; I don’t run in fear another bomb will go off,” Heintz said. “But I couldn’t go back to Boston.”
Karla Eysoldt of Mason completed her second half marathon at the Flying Pig. She was joined by a group of about six runners from Fitness 19 in Mason.
“This is one of my favorite races because everyone comes together; it keeps you going and it’s really something,” Eysoldt said. “It encouraged us to come,” she said of the Boston bombing.
Eysoldt said she was nervous about this race, not because of security measures, but because of a foot injury she began feeling last Wednesday.
Sam Diemert of Beavercreek was traveling around the course Sunday on a bicycle, in support of his girlfriend Katie Ussin running the half marathon.
“The boys in blue are doing a good job keeping an eye out; I’m not too worried,” Diemert said.