Despite temperatures in the 30 to 40-degree range, heavy winds and the threat of rain, almost 1200 participants completed the 5K runway run, also known as the Bud Heaning memorial run on Sunday morning, April15th. John Selden, Deputy General Manger JFK International Airport, and runner, commented that it would have been closer to 2,000 if the sun were shining.
Runners ranged in age from 3 to 79, and included many families, as well as company groups including Jet Blue, Unity Electric, Lufthansa and PALS. Andrew Dearling took men’s first place while Marisa Keiser was the first woman to cross the finish line. It was amazing to see the number of children and senior citizens finishers!
Major sponsors for the race, Jet Blue, Unity International, Duty Free America, OTG, Cathay Pacific, A&R, HMS Host and Finest Service Plus provided banners, refreshments, comfort stations and medals while numerous other companies funded tee shirts and other race essentials.
The 5K run, which began in 1974 as a 10K, benefits several Rotary charities. Among them this year were PALS, Patient Airlift Services, as well as the Mill Neck School for the Deaf and the Rotary Foundation.
In attendance this year were 10 athletes from Achilles International. They are a non- profit organization which has chapters in over 65 locations within the United States and abroad. Every day, in parks, in gyms, and on tracks all over the world Achilles provides Athletes with disabilities with a community of support. Able-bodied volunteers and disabled runners come together to train in an environment of support and community.
While their program focuses on athletics, the truth is, sports are simply a tool for accomplishing their main objective: to bring hope, inspiration, and the joys of achievement to people with disabilities. For more information, go to www.achillesqueens.org.
Each year this incredible event continues to grow and attract new participants drawn by the novelty of actually running on a real JFK runway, while repeat runners return for much the same reason. It is a testament to the hard work of the JFK Rotary, and its volunteers, supporters, and donors who donate their time and services that this event runs so smoothly. The Port Authority of NY & NJ deserves much credit and praise for their outstanding efforts in keeping the many runners and spectators organized and secure.
Visit www.jfkrotaryclub.org for race results.
Visit our Flickr album for additional photos.