Last week, our chapter of Alpha Eta Rho at Eastern Kentucky University hosted a 5K at Madison Airport in Berea, KY. We organized the event in order to help raise money for Wings of Hope, a charity that offers free flight to sick patients.
After advertising for months, and organizing the event religiously, the date had finally arrived. When we pulled up to the airport, we were greeted by nearly clear skies, a gentle breeze and seventy degree weather. We could not have asked for a better night to host the race. About thirty minutes before a NOTAM went active to shut down the runway, we got on the line men’s golf cart and began placing the various signs along the taxiways and runway. These included mile markers and directions. It was really weird not being in an airplane traveling down these, and it made me realize how massive airport infrastructure is.
Around six o’clock, we had all our volunteers, and the runners started to show up. I had asked our vice president Randy to run if we had enough volunteers to cover the race, and sure enough we did. So I quickly changed, donned a racing bib, and headed over to the starting line.
Randy greeted the runners at the wind sock, explaining the benefits of the 5K and thanking them for coming. Everybody’s face was excited and ready to take in the new experience. They sounded the blow horn, and the race began.
Three kids around eight years old started out sprinting, and make it half way down the runway before tiring out. The rest of the pack settled in and some like me started conversations and meeting people while jogging.
The course took us down the taxiway, down the runway completely, back to the midpoint of the runway, and then circled back down it and the taxiway to finish. It was a fantastic place to run, and the lights even started to pop on near the end which was cool.
As I came around to the finish, all the Alpha Eta Rho volunteers were cheering us on loudly in the golf cart, and I think I finished in the top four. Everyone else finished with a smile on their face. Many said it was the coolest 5K they had ever run, and could not wait to spread the word to their friends for next year. We came out ahead, and were able to make a good donation to Wings of Hope, and brainstormed improvements for next year afterwards. I am hoping it grows from here, and becomes a staple event in the area. Thanks for all involved, and if you are interested in the next event, keep your eye open for announcements!