Tom Kauffmann knew he could break the Flying Pig Half Marathon record. The Mariemont native did just that last year when he crossed the finish line.
"I was trying to break the record," Kauffman wrote in an email. "I've run the half marathon four minutes faster." His strategy of running record pace for 10 miles and then surging in the final three worked. He set the new mark of 1:08:32.
I was a bit surprised to learn, while Kauffmann admitted to going for the record, he approached the race as a training run.
"I actually had a goal marathon I was training for 3 weeks after the Pig," Kauffmann recalled. "It was the perfect timing for a long marathon-effort workout."
Here is the story, including video of his finish, from WCPO.COM. https://www.wcpo.com/sports/2-runners-with-cincinnati-ties-win-flying-pig-half-marathon
Local Kid Runs Fast
Kaufmann's running story started when he was in elementary school. Inspired by his father and uncle who both ran competitively, he joined a youth track league.
"I ran cross country and track at Mariemont High School, and then I did the same for Xavier University," Kauffman said.
His competitive fire continued after graduating from Xavier. He decoded to train hard with his sights set on qualifying for the US Olympic Marathon Trials in 2016.
Kauffman qualified for the 2016 Olympic Trials. photo courtesy: Tom Kauffmann
'I had a rough day at the Trials," Kauffman recalled. "But that's just how it goes sometimes."
Kauffman would would like to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials again in 2020 saying he has some unfinished business there. "I'd like to kick ass at the race." Kauffman said.
But that all depends on if he can stay healthy. Kauffman has been battling a nagging achilles injury for the past two years which has affected training. He also has to get faster.
photo courtesy: Tom Kauffman
It will take a sub 2:19 to make it. Kauffman's personal best in the full is 2:28:28. He has already set the mark for the half. "I'm taking a shot at the marathon standard this spring in Boston," Kauffman said via email.
The Flying Pig and Competitive Runners
Kauffman, a middle school history teacher in Middletown, sent me an e-mail a couple of weeks ago after the first Running Story. He pointed out the Flying Pig is not an event for everyone, notably elite, competitive racers.
The Pig does not offer incentives for competitive runners -- no complimentary entry, travel help, start line seeding, special warmup areas, and no prize money. When it comes to national-caliber events, all of the above (and more) are standard.
Kauffman wrote, "I don't want this to sound overly or unfairly critical of the Pig, because they do put on a fun event and everyone on the staff is genuinely nice. I just wanted the competitive perspective heard, which is often dismissed or ignored from the conversation."
While the Flying Pig is the staple event in what is a running city, Kauffman believes adding incentives would cultivate the one area that lacks in the Tri-State - a deep competitive field.
"I'd love to see the Pig add prize money or other competitive considerations to more of its races beyond the Little Kings Mile," Kauffman wrote. "Most other comparable events in the region do so (Columbus, Indianapolis, Louisville, Pittsburgh, Detroit, etc.) which would make the Pig stack up well against them."
What is your Running Story?
What inspires you? Why are you running the Flying Pig? Are you on a health quest? Trying to beat your personal best? Where are you from? Why now?
This space is for your story - it will be part video, part written word, part TV news story and part pictures. Hopefully it is as inspirational to read as I find it to gather these stories.
Here is how you can contact me; email -email@example.com, twitter https://twitter.com/RivaWCPO, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ChrisRivaWCPO/ and my direct line - 513.852.1334
Final note: Congratulations to Flying Pig Executive Director Iris Simpson Bush for being inducted into Running USA's www.runningusa.org Hall of Champions. Well deserved.
Until next week - happy training. -Chris