Here’s a race that is quickly becoming one of the Charlotte area’s must-run events. In 2007, the first year of the Runway 5k, there were 312 finishers. On a rainy Saturday in 2008 there were slightly more runners, with 377 finishers. This year it exploded with a total of 1,343 runners finishing the race, not counting hundreds of walkers who ambled around the course without chips to record their time. It really is an exciting race as the airport closes one of its runways for the event and it’s like no other race as planes take off and land nearby. Best of all, it’s almost completely flat and definitely a race to run for anyone looking to set their own Personal Record (PR) for the 5k. It had been almost a month since I had run a 5k, having instead run a couple of half marathons, a 15k, and an 8k, and since I had been running pretty well at the longer distances I thought I might have a shot at a PR on this flat course. I felt great, the weather was perfect for running, and I managed to beat my old 5k PR by 32 seconds at 20:27, finishing 1st in my age group and 45th overall of the 1,343 runners.
As I finished the race there was a volunteer handing out white wash cloths (good quality too!) to runners as they crossed the finish line. The food wasn’t fancy but there was plenty of it this year (they ran out early last year). There were bananas, apples, mini muffins, and of course plenty of bottled water and sports drink.
Last year’s T-shirts weren’t bad, but the ones this year were gray (as opposed to last year’s white) and the design was nice and tasteful so this is one of those rare cotton T-shirts that might actually get some wear.
There was also plenty of entertainment including radio personalities, Carolina Panthers mascot Sir Purr, a bounce house for kids, and nostalgic aircraft from the nearby Carolinas Aviation Museum.
One other area where this race shines is in the photography. Everywhere you looked there was a photographer, and there are several thousand photos available from Ron Deshaies’ Treasured Events of Charlotte.
One small disappointment was that the 2009 Miss North Carolina was scheduled to hand out the awards and apparently she didn’t make it. Everything went smoothly in the awards ceremony though so no biggy. Last year’s awards were presented by former Panther Mike Rucker, who was amazingly gracious to each and every age group winner as he posed for a photo with them, which made it the best awards ceremony of the year. The awards, by the way, were fairly small but nice trophies, the kind I wish every race had.
7 – 1-10 Website (Information, results, registration, photo links, etc.)
8 – 1-10 Awards (Quality of medals, trophies, etc.) (1 to 10)
6 - 1-10 Awards Presentation (PA system, winning times, etc.) (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10 Food for Race Participants (1 to 10)
7 – 1-10 T-Shirts (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
4 – 4/6 Part of Race Series (Grand Prix, etc.) (6=Yes and 4=No)
5 – 0/5 Professional Photography (5=Yes and 0=No)
6 – 4/6 Chip Timing (6=Yes and 4=No)
7 – 3/7 Certified Course (by USA Track & Field) (7=Yes and 3=No)
9 – 1-10 Course (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
7 - 1-10 Parking (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
9 – 1-10 Entertainment (1 to 10 with 5 being average)
10 – 0-10 Age Groups (10 if 5-year groups; 0 if 10-year groups)
0 – 0/5 Indoor Shelter from Elements (0 if none; 5 if provided)
8 – 1-10 Bathroom Facilities