A Running Story 2018 Flying Pig Marathon - Dr. Thomas Kimball

Wow, that did not take long. The news of the week is the Flying Pig full marathon is sold out. Race officials told us this week that you can still sign up for the wait list this year. This is something that Race Director, Iris Simpson Bush, told us during our Podcast last month she expected.

Here is what the registration page looks like - Sold Out! The good news is you can still register for several other events marathon weekend. The Pig estimates around 42-thousand participants for the various events marathon weekend.

Registration page of Flying Pig Marathon

Thomas Kimball's Running Story

Doctor Thomas Kimball's running story started in the late 70's with a marathon in California. He thought he would be one and done, but his father and the chance that the Flying Pig ran past his house changed all of that.

This year he will cross his 70th marathon finish. He also continues a major goal to run a marathon in all 50 states.

"It’s all been made a little bit easier by the memory of my Dad and his health and his passion for running." Thomas Kimball MD

This week Dr. Kimball sent me an email explaining his running story. Here it is in his own words.

In 1979 as a first year medical student I ran my first marathon and experienced such pain that I swore I would never run another marathon again. It’s funny how seemingly deep convictions can change dramatically so. This year I am registered to run my 16th Pig, my 70th marathon and my 50th state marathon.

In 1999, 20 years after my marathon proclamation, one night I received an alarming phone call from my mother in Oakland, California. “Tom, you better sit down.” I thought to myself, “no need to sit down, Mom is going to tell me that Grandma had passed”. This would actually be a blessing since for the past years she had been in a vegetative state. She went on, “It’s your father”. I sat down. “He’s had a major stroke. He’s been admitted to the intensive care unit, on a ventilator and is unresponsive. They are only keeping him alive until you and your sister can get to Oakland to say your goodbyes”. I trembled and started sobbing. The next morning I was by his bedside saying goodbye and taking him off the ventilator only to see his heart beat its last few beats.

My father had been the essence of health and vitality. He WAS a runner and at 69 years old he still could give me a good competitive match on the tennis court. He ran his daily run in the Oakland hills and each summer he would go on backpacking trips in the Sierra Nevada with his buddies. His death was too sudden…too premature…not understandable.

On that 1979 marathon Sunday in San Francisco, he and my mom supported me with water and snacks (there were no aid stations back then). As he handed me a cup of water at one point in the race, I could see in my Dad’s face that he was living vicariously through me. He wanted to run in that race. He wanted to immerse himself in the marathon experience. Yet, he never got the chance.

From Boston to the Flying Pig - Dr. Kimball will run his 70th Marathon in 2018. Upper right: Kent Kimball with grandson Mark. photos courtesy: Thomas Kimball

I really hadn’t heard of the Flying Pig Marathon until it ran close by my Mt. Lookout home in May of 1999, three months after my dad’s death. But as I watched the runners pass by me, I thought of that 1979 marathon and my dad’s support and most importantly my dad’s face yearning to run with me.

The next year I began my crazy quest…in his memory and to his honor, by running in the 2000 Flying Pig. After that I ran Chicago, then Boston, then New York. With 5 states (including California from 1979) I committed myself to running a marathon in all 50 states…in Dad’s memory.

Thomas Kimball

I have 3 more states left – Maine in May, South Dakota in June. I anticipate finishing this goal by running my 70th marathon, 50th state in Montana in July. There’s been a tremendous amount of pain, a lot of inconvenience, and a lot of compromise and giving from my wife and family. But it’s all been made a little bit easier by the memory of my Dad and his health and his passion for running.

The quest, the goal, the remembrance all started with the Flying Pig Marathon. As I cross the Starting Line for the 20th Pig, my 16th Pig, these are the thoughts that will be running through my mind.

- Thomas Kimball MD - Medical Director, Heart Institute, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital - Professor of Pediatrics, University of Cincinnati Medical School

Thomas' running story brought me to tears. It made me think of my father. His death is one reason I moved home four years ago.

I too, have fond memories of my father traveling to Colorado or Lake Tahoe to watch a triathlon, mountain bike race or Cyclocross event. I will never forget him trying to fix my mountain bike in transition in Incline Village during an X-Terra event. I... we knew he had no idea how get the wheel off, let alone fix a broken spoke. But he was 'all in,' like every other aspect of my life.

My father, like Kent Kimball loved the action, the vibe and a group of people that challenged themselves to do something hard.

Since my father's death, when I see a cardinal while running or pedaling on the bike trail, I think of him. I smile and say, "Hi dad." I can relate to Dr. Kimball's running story because a lot of the things motivating him, motivate me. I thank him for sharing his 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?

Contact me on Twitter, Facebook, email: chris.riva@wcpo.com or by phone: (513) 852-1334.

This space is for your running 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.

Until next week, Happy Training! Looks like snow early this week. -Chris


Thomas Kimball

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