It was a runway of a different sort at Hamilton Airport on Sunday. Hundreds of runners pounded the tarmac as part of Rotary’s 5k Run the Runway 2021 charity event.
The Rotary fundraiser, which was held for the first time at the airport, began at 6.45am to avoid a clash with the first scheduled flight out Hamilton at 8.15am.
The 5km course drew nearly 400 enthusiastic entrants, who crossed the airport’s apron and on to the runway, dashed down to the end of the runway, then to the other end, before finishing back on the apron.
First home was Fabe Downs, of Auckland, who completed the race in 15 minutes and 17 seconds, winning himself a free KIWI Balloon Company flight.
The first walkers took less than an hour to cross the finish line.
Event organiser Mike Cahill, of the Rotary Club of Fairfield, said ‘approximately $10,000 had been raised for local and international charities".
"It was a really good atmosphere. People were friendly and there was a buzz from being involved, which is what we hoped would happen."
Competitors ranged in age from 10 to over 80, and the runners said ‘it was an awesome event. Really well organized and such a unique opportunity. Hope it will be back next year".
Race Director Dick Breukink from Waikato Sunrise Rotary Club said, "There were a couple of people who weren’t sure if they would manage, but everyone seemed to get the whole distance and nobody had to withdraw”.
He said that he and Mike would be talking with airport staff to see if the event could become an annual fixture.
"Everything went extremely well, so we’re hoping we will be able to get that opportunity again in the future. "I think it would really put us on the calendar as an event that is Hamilton unique."
Our thanks go out to the Hamilton Airport staff, our Sponsors, the Rotary volunteers and all the competitors for their tremendous help, encouragement and support in making today such a great event.