Dayton Track Club an ‘amazing resource’ for Flying Pig Marathon winners

Olivia Anger and Jason Salyer make it a sweep for area runners in Cincinnati

Olivia Anger collected stuffed pigs as a kid. It was only fitting her first marathon victory came at the Flying Pig Marathon.

Anger, a Bellbrook resident, raced to victory Sunday in Cincinnati in 2 hours, 43 minutes, 22 seconds. She beat the second-place female by more than eight minutes and ran a 6:15 pace over the 26.2-mile course.

“I went into the race with the goal of winning,” Anger said Monday. “I had never won a marathon before, and I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to do so.”

Anger and Jason Salyer, a Tipp City resident who won men’s marathon for the second straight year, gave the Dayton Track Club a sweep of the Flying Pig Marathon. Another club member, Emily Zimmerman, of Dayton, won the 10-kilometer race in 37:38.

Anger called the club an amazing resource in her training.

“It’s given me a community and training partners who help push me and keep me motivated to train and sign up for races,” she said. “Being able to have people to run with and do workouts with who are training at a similar caliber is just incredible. Dayton has an amazing running community. I would never on my own wake up at 7 a.m. to do my 20-mile run. I probably would sleep in a little later. But because of the Dayton Track Club, I’m motivated to do that. I’d much rather wake up early and have people to run with than run 20 miles alone.”

Anger, 26, and Salyer, 33, dealt with difficult conditions Sunday.

“I knew because of the heat and the humidity, I couldn’t go out for a (personal record) or go out too aggressively,” Anger said. “Otherwise, I’d be paying for it the second half. I tried to be a little conservative at the beginning but still go out quick enough so I could run a fast time. I wanted to win so I knew it would take a fast time because it’s a competitive field. I felt really great miles 1-13. I felt really composed. I felt like I was on a jog. But definitely around miles 17-18, the heat and humidity started to take its toll on my body. I was struggling the last six miles, for sure. I was honestly worried that I wasn’t going to be able to finish and that I was going to be one of those stories of what not to do in the heat and humidity because how much I was struggling at the end. But I powered through.”

Anger collapsed with a heatstroke at the finish line and spent an hour in the medical tent. An ice bath brought her temperature down from 107 degrees.

Salyer won the race for the second straight year. He finished in 2:26:01. In 2023, he won with a time of 2:27:10.

Salyer said the Flying Pig was a “redemption race” for him because he dropped out of the U.S. Olympic Trials in Orlando, Fla., in February. That race started at 10 a.m. in high temperatures, and the heat took a toll on him.

In Cincinnati, 95% humidity was the biggest challenge, next to the 1,000 feet of elevation runners climb.

“It’s a great marathon, but you don’t necessarily try to run a blazing fast time,” Salyer said. “It’s really challenging to do that there. So you really just focus on effort and do the best you can with the circumstances.”

Salyer ran a conservative pace over the first half of the race. He and the eventual second-place finisher, Adam Beucler, traded the lead five or six times from mile 10 to 21. Salyer beat Beucler by 52 seconds.

“I sensed that his breathing was a little heavier than mine around mile 16,” Salyer said, “so that gave me some confidence that I would be OK. I always think that I have two bullets that I can use in an a race, the bullets being aggressive moves. So if you try to do more than two aggressive moves in a race, you probably won’t have the energy to sustain that third or fourth move. So I made my first big move — or I used my first bullet — at mile 22. That was my fastest mile in the race, and I was able to create some separation from Adam. Then my lead just kept gradually increasing. I knew in the final couple of miles I just needed to hold it together and not collapse and I would be fine and prevail.”

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