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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

No 2020 Flying Pig Marathon Due To Pandemic Concerns

Bill Rinehart
Spectators cheer on runners at the 2018 Flying Pig Marathon.

The Flying Pig marathon and its associated events won't happen this year, but organizers say they already have next year's dates selected. Pig Works, the umbrella organization, says the health and safety of participants and spectators comes first.

The 22nd running of the marathon was originally rescheduled from May to October because of the coronavirus pandemic.

CEO Iris Simpson Bush says, "We have evaluated the health and safety protocols for running events, surveyed participants, and discussed options with our medical staff, government leaders and other respected events in our industry. We came to the conclusion that even with the implementation of best practices, altered starts, support stations and finish venues, we could not offer the safe and fun experience that our athletes, volunteers, sponsors and spectators so deserve." 

People can still take virtual versions of four races: the marathon, the Queen Bee half marathon, 4 Miler, and the 14k/7k Brewery Runs.

"We are as disappointed as our participants to have to make this decision," Simpson Bush says. "We were holding onto hope and optimism for as long as possible, but in fairness to those training for the fall events, we feel this is the safe and responsible decision."

A release from Pig Works says people who registered for the rescheduled events will get an email by July 10 with options for future participation, including virtual races, registering for future races or donating their fee.

The 2021 schedule has Flying Pig Marathon weekend on April 30 through May 2. The Queen Bee Half Marathon is October 8 and 9.

The Flying Pig Marathon and other races coordinated by Pig Works raise money for more than 300 charities and non-profits.

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.