Cincinnati — Zac Holtkamp bested a field of 3,235 runners to capture his first Flying Pig Marathon title.

What You Need To Know

  • Zac Holtkamp and Grace McCarron are both first-time winners of the Flying Pig Marathon

  • Neither the men's nor the women's defending champ took part in the full marathon

  • Former Flying Pig winner Caitlin Keen won the women's half marathon, while Alabama resident Josh Whitehead won the men's race 

  • More than 27,000 runners took part in races over the course of the three-day weekend

The 29-year-old from Alexandria, Ky., finished the 26.2-mile race in a time of 2:27:18 to win the 24th running of the Flying Pig. Grace McCarron, 34, of Loveland, won the women’s division with a time of 2:50:00.

Both are first time winners of the race. Neither the men's nor the women's defending champion took part in this year's full marathon.

“So many people out there cheering me on, people that I knew, people that I didn’t know at all,” Holtkamp said. “For me, personally, that’s what keeps me going. Every person who cheers for me, it’s like a mini aid station. It keeps me going.” 

Holtkamp is an established runner. He finished as runner-up in the 2020 Mesa Marathon in Phoenix while living in Arizona.

This was Holtkamp’s first Flying Pig after moving back to the greater Cincinnati area. “I held off for years doing the Flying Pig,” he said. But he decided to run this year after winning this year’s Heart Half Marathon in March.

“I waited until after the Heart Half to sign up for the Flying Pig,” Holtkamp said. “After the Heart Half, I thought, ‘OK I can do it.’”  

Will Cadwell, 24, of Covington, Ky., came in second with a time of 2:28:11. Cadwell won last October’s Fall Flying Pig Toyota 10K and also won the FCC 3 in July 2021. Jeremy Wysocki, 37, of Miamisburg, Ohio, finished third with a time of 2:35:19. 

This was McCarron’s first Flying Pig, but she’s no stranger to marathons, or winning them. She won the Glass City Marathon in Toledo, Ohio in 2021.

“The atmosphere, the crowd, is just amazing. Often when you do a marathon there are some quiet spots, but here people are cheering all the time,” she said. “You’re out there, you’re working so hard, and to hear those cheers makes all the difference.”

Second in the women’s division was 26-year-old Madeline Dawson, who won the Heart Half Marathon earlier this year. Her time in the marathon was 2:52:51.

Anne Flower, a two-time winner of the Flying Pig Marathon, finished third. The Covington resident finished with a time of 2:54:04 a week after winning the Big Sur Marathon in California. 

Caitlin Keen, who won the women’s division of last year’s Flying Pig Marathon last year, won her first Paycor Half Marathon on Sunday in a time of 1:21:08. The 29-year-old ran a half marathon in Waco, Texas, near her home in Fort Worth, last weekend. She made a last-minute decision to return to Cincinnati this weekend to run the half. 

“The experience here is something I never expected,” said Keen, who also won the Flying Pig Marathon in 2018. “People stop me on the street here and say, ‘You’re Caitlin, I know you, congratulations on winning the Pig.’ I want to be here because that’s how much the people here mean to me.” 

Second in the women’s division was 28-year-old Katarina Smiljanec from Covington in a time of 1:24:57. She also placed second in Friday night’s Fifty West Mile elite division.

Aimee Piercy, 24, finished less than a minute behind Smiljanec to claim third place. The Cincinnati resident also finished third in Friday’s Fifty West Mile. 

Josh Whitehead, 43, won the men’s division of the half marathon in a time of 1:12:14. The Huntsville, Ala., resident has made a remarkable physical recovery after being hit by the driver of a car while riding his bike in 2020. He suffered a broken back, dislocated shoulder and partially collapsed lung. 

Eric Gruenbacher, 30, of Loveland, Ohio finished second (1:12:56) and Cincinnati resident Kyle Klingler, 28, came in third (1:13:14). 

Sunday marked the end of a weekend of race events associated with the 24th annual Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. More than 27,000 people took part in events over the course of the past three days, which began Friday night.

The first event was the newly configured Fifty West Mile, part of the TQL Beer Series. It was an “elite” event, featuring athletes who run sub-5-minute miles.

This year the elite “dash for cash” mile started inside Cincinnati’s Transit Tunnel off Pete Rose Way and ended at the traditional finish line on Mehring Way.

The fastest male among the elites was 22-year-old Andrew Taylor of Hilliard, Ohio, in 4:23. Jack Cordonnier, 23, from Morrow, Ohio, finished second in 4:25, besting Cincinnati resident Charlie Michel, 28, in a near-photo finish.

Among the female elites, 27-year-old Gina McNamara from Washington, D.C., won in a time of 4:59 to finish ahead of Smiljanec and Piercy

Saturday’s slate of events began with the Toyota 10K, won by two-time Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon winner Jack Randall of Cincinnati. The 27-year-old ran 31:45, one second better than runner-up Logan Barrett, 29, of Jeffersonville, Ky, Third was 23-year-old Walter Ramsey, 23, of East Lake Center, Ga. (35:46).

Shawanna White, 42, won the women’s 10K. The Columbia, S.C., resident won in a time of 39:35. Ashley Case, 31, of Angola, Ind. finished second (40:45), six seconds ahead of 31-year-old Kaitlin Budke of Blue Ash.

Jakob Mueller, 24, of Monroe, won the Tri State Running Company 5K, in a time of 16:07. Anders Ludvigsen, 31, of Cincinnati was the runner-up (17:04) and Lawrenceburg, Ind. resident Bryan Wagnerm took third (17:22).

For the women, 22-year-old Meredith Grace Gieske from Fort Mitchell, Ky. was the winner in 18:57. She edged out 45-year-old Amy Parker of Dublin, Ohio (19:26) and Abby Mace (19:32). 

Also held Saturday was the First Watch Flying Piglet, Cincinnati Children’s 26th Mile, PigAbilities presented by Goodwill Industries and the Flying Fur, a race designed for runners with dogs.

2022 Final Registration Numbers per Race:

  • Full Marathon: 3,235 (2021: 2,861)

  • Paycor Half Marathon: 8,831 (2021: 7,375)

  • City Dash 4-Person Relay: 1,164 (2021: 316)

  • Toyota 10K: 4,069 (2021: 3,446)

  • Tri-State Running Company 5K: 5,201 (2021: 3,694)

  • Cincinnati Children’s 26th Mile: 1,133 (2021: 472)

  • Pigabilities presented Goodwill Industries: 476 (2021: 76)

  • First Watch Flying Piglet: 504 (2021: 126)

  • Flying Fur Dog Walk/Run: 501 (2021: 345)

  • Fifty West Mile: 2,506 (2021: 1,980)