Sunrise 20: Downtown Cincinnati (Flying Pig Marathon!)
My pattern so far has been to wake up every morning, rise or shine, for a sunrise during the week. On the weekends I typically take a single day off and go on a bike exploration adventure on the other day. This weekend I knew that we’d be getting up at 5:15am today to head downtown to the Flying Pig Marathon (and half pig and relay!). Amanda ran the half pig this morning, her second ever half marathon. She did awesome :). You start off flat and then head up to Mt. Adams to get punished by the hills. The full marathoners continue out to Hyde Park and Merrimont and finally come back along the river.
I realized that this morning would be Sunrise 20, a highly appropriate halfway point on the way to 40 sunrises! I had grandeur visions of seeing the sun rise 15 minutes after the race started (did I mention I’m only a spectator?) over the river. There would have been some great orange skies to be seen through the sky scrapers. This didn’t pan out, however, because the sky stayed a flat gray for the entire race. I still got some great pictures of some flying pig runners and old downtown buildings. (Click to continue if you’re on the front page –>)
In case you didn’t know, the flying pig is pretty huge. There was an estimated 30,000+ participants this year. To say that the streets were filled with runners would be an understatement. I think the first half marathon runners were finishing while seventh street was still packed (around miles 2-5 out of 13.1). If you’ve never been a spectator at a long race like this, let me tell you one thing. While hauling around my coffee thermos, extra clothes, camera, water bottles, and sweatshirts, I got a workout just trying to get to every strategic cheering location! Now I know what my parents must have felt like when I was a cross country runner.
The runners started off heading east down by the river, crossing over into Kentucky on the John Roebling suspension bridge. They looped back around through Covington to come back over to the Cincinnati side via the CW Bailey Bridge. Lots and lots of mushrooms hangin’ out in the wet mulch! After a slight jog over to the west, they were paraded through the heart of down town via the long flat 7th street stretch. Plenty of historic buildings nestled in between the modern sky scrapers.Observe Kroger Headquarters in the background. Here we are looking south from 7th street. You can see the US Bank building on the far back right. We can see the approach into Mt. Adams in the distance. Although flat may be an understatement, I believe the eastern part of 7th street has a slow grade to it. Upon reaching the end of eastern downtown, the runners headed up gilbert avenue through Mt. Adams, the steepest and hilliest part of the race. I spotted a three story parking garage that provided an excellent view of the runners as they came through their water stop.After I climbed down from the garage after taking several pictures, I merged with the runners to glide across the street (a difficult feat in and of itself – you want to blend in enough to not startle the wild runners, but not act lively enough as to incite envy towards my non-fatigued appearance). As I said, there were a lot of people. A lot.Another shot from the parking garage.
At this point I was feeling a caffeine itch, so I snuck up the large onramp and sat down on the cement wall and poured myself a cup of coffee. The angle from the onramp wall provided a great head-on view of the runners coming towards me.
I sat and watched the herd for a good 35 minutes, feeling like Simba in that scene of “The Lion King” (man, the Internet is amazing) where he’s stuck in the tree during the wildebeest stampede. The sheer volume of runners was staggering. Even by mile 4 the stream of people had no signs of thinning. I like this picture because it reminds me of looking into an infinite mirror – the stream of runners end only with the resolution of the camera.
I hopped down from my cement outpost and took a shortcut down to the finish line. As I poured a final cup of coffee, I heard a cheer down below the onramp. The first half marathon runners had already looped up through Mt. Adams and were about to finish behind the pace car. Outstanding!
I passed through the Proctor & Gamble headquarters square. The twin buildings can be seen anywhere in eastern down town. The lawn was looking particularly green today against the overcast sky. The vines were strong and plump with all the recent rain. There are several corporate headquarters in downtown Cincinnati. I took a few pictures of the obvious ones. P&G, Kroger, Fifth Third. You can also see the PNC building, Great American Insurance, Macy’s, and US Bank in a few of the pictures that I took along the way through downtown.
Here we have an old police station. It stood out to me because I know that this is not the current location of the second district. You see, my car got hit a few weeks ago by a hit-and-run drunkie (but they found his car down the road). On the police report I noticed that we live in “District 2”. The Hyde Park precinct is a good 6 miles from downtown. I wonder when was the last time the district operated out of this building?
One of the neat things, in my opinion, about exploring any old midwestern city like Cincinnati is that most of the buildings are now being occupied by a different company than the one that originally built it. Back in the day so many buildings were built out of stone. Most of the old utility buildings and bank buildings down town are large and magnificent and are named after long-defunct companies. Cincinnati is especially interesting because it feels like there are many examples of modern life existing around the ancient ruins of both long-gone behemoths and small local businesses. The shell of a time gone by, whose only traces left are the buildings that we still use today. For every small satellite village around Cincinnati there is a huge Romanesque-style bank building with tall wide columns, proclaiming the location of the local “Bank and Trust” that has long since packed up its bags, or at least merged with one of the big banks like Fifth Third or PNC.
On the way home, a good 4.5 hours after we arrived for the race, we swung through East End. The marathoners were still out pounding the pavement with only 4 miles to go.
This entry was posted on May 1, 2011 by Ault Park Sunrise. It was filed under cincinnati, civic buildings, downtown, overcast and was tagged with cincinnati, downtown, flying pig, marathon, mushrooms, rainstorm, rainy, running.