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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Run the runway

Earlier this year, I came across a posting where an airport allowed people to run a 5k on their newly paved runway. I thought this was the coolest thing ever and I wondered if the Toronto airport would do such a thing.

I googled the runway run at the Toronto airport, where I found that they do hold a race on the runway! The last time, it was in 2014, but they hadn't announced if and when they were planning the 2015 race. I started following the Toronto airport on Twitter and kept an eye out for mentions of the race.

Back at the beginning of the summer, they opened the registration period and Mike and I registered for the 5k and waited for September to arrive.

That morning, it was quite chilly and windy. Not close to freezing, but a little colder than everyone anticipated. We had gone from mild temperatures the previous days to a sharp drop over night.

Once we arrived, we milled around the hangar to keep out of the wind before lining up outside. The one issue I had with the event was the lack of volunteer awareness. Apparently the runners/walkers were supposed to congregate in the hangar for opening ceremonies. They sent 2 or 3 people to attempt to corral everyone in. That didn't work too well so about half of the attendees missed the ceremonies and the safety instructions.

Mike and I didn't let that bother us, though. We were excited to actually be on the runway!

The starting line

My pre-race impatience started up with a vengeance and I was please when we started on our way. Mike had asked one of the volunteers if the wheelchair participants were to line up at the front of the corral so that people wouldn't trip over him. The volunteer didn't know.

On our way

Our plan was to place Mike on the outside of the column and I'd be beside him on the inside. Just long enough for the rush to pass us and the crowd thin a little. That didn't work too well, it seems people have a sort of tunnel vision and if they didn't see you below waist level, then you weren't there. While waiting for the start, people jostled for position in front of us, to the point that Mike would have hit them with the free wheel when he started to move.

Nevertheless, we started the run beside each other.

At the first turn, Air Canada Boeing 767

We ran behind these guys for a while. They completed the full 5k in their uniforms.

Eventually Mike and I split up - he went on ahead - he's faster than I. I stuck to my running schedule in Runkeeper and worked to take pictures when I could.

- 1km run
- .5 km walk
- 1 km run
- .5 km walk
- .5 km run
- .5 km walk
- 1 km run

Yes, that is a WestJet plane making the turn as it prepares to take off

I'm either slowing to a walk for my interval or starting up for my run interval

I completed this race in 39.15. This is the first time I've cracked 40 minutes, and it was 4 minutes less than my last 5k. I am over the moon with this time. Next time, I'm aiming for faster :).

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