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June 2008 Issue

Mike Greiwe, MD, finished fourth at the 2008 Flying Pig Half Marathon held in May despite being misdirected by race officials.
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Scaling a Fence, Running an Extra Mile Not Enough to Stop Ortho Resident From Finishing Flying Pig

By Angela Koenig
Published June 2008

When fourth-year orthopedic resident Mike Greiwe signed up for the 2008 Flying Pig Half Marathon, he had an impressive reputation: second place in 2007, in a time of 1:10:36.

This time around, he placed fourth but there will always be that “what if” factor; considering he ran nearly a mile out of his way, had to scale a fence, and crossed the finish line coming from the opposite direction.

“I’ve finished every race I’ve ever entered,” recounts Greiwe with true runner’s determination, and a grin that belies the seriousness of all his training and what he went through on race day.

Let’s just call it the Flying Pig Half Marathon less traveled...

Greiwe, 29, was among a handful of elite runners who ran astray, so to speak, due to a series of unforeseen events in the 13.1-mile race. A three-alarm fire earlier in the day rerouted the full marathon without a major glitch, but some rerouting uncertainties carried over to the half marathon.

When Greiwe and one of the race’s cyclist guides reached Mile 11, at the intersection of Elsinore Place and Gilbert Avenue, Greiwe says they should have turned right onto Elsinore but instead were directed by a police officer to go straight.

After doing so, at around Eighth and Plum streets, it became evident they were off course. Greiwe says he asked the cyclist to “just get me to the finish line,” which involved a trek across Fifth and Third streets, through downtown traffic.

After about a mile of additional running, he finally saw the finish line—through a chain-link fence. Up and over he went, sprinting to outkick the fifth-place finisher coming toward him. “I felt bad for him,” says Greiwe.

Although he loves the competition of race day, his compassion  wasn’t difficult to muster, since Greiwe runs as a way to decompress and energize his mind after long days.

It’s become one of those personal enjoyments he’s carried over from college at the University of Notre Dame, where as a senior he placed second in the 10,000-meter run at the 2000 Big East Championships.

“Running makes me more efficient rather than less” he says of going for a run before or after work or to break up the drudgery of an extended study session.

Although by Greiwe’s estimation he wasn’t on pace to take the lead (his official time was 1:14:54, 1 minute and 32 seconds behind second place and 5 minutes, 32 seconds behind winner Todd Pthlek of Erie, Pa.) his coworkers and
running buddies in orthopedics beg to differ.

“He had a shot at second, and an outside shot at winning,” says resident Rick Owens, who ran in the full marathon as a member of the orthopedic residents’ relay team. That team, he says, had its own misfortune when one of the runners veered off course and then lost his tracking chip, disqualifying the team.

“We all had a big laugh about the whole race,” Owens says, chuckling that the relay team’s misfortune “was probably self-inflicted.”

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