Getting up at the crack of dawn to complete a five-kilometre fun run might not be some people’s idea of how to spend a Sunday morning, but add in the fact that you get to do so on an airport runway and the Rotary Club of Fairfield’s event certainly has a novelty factor.
Club spokesman Mike Cahill says Run the Runway is one of only four similar events he knows of in the Southern Hemisphere, and it takes a lot of coordination and work prior to the race to get it off the ground.
“We need to hold the event as early as possible in the day so we are not interrupting international and domestic flight patterns, so we have a one-hour cut-off time.
“This event brings together Rotarians from across the Waikato to support us as volunteers,” Mike says.
“The latest event we held in March saw more than 400 participants – it is amazing to see the number of young people and families taking part.”
Initially, the 2021 event was held so the club could raise funds for a project building a hospice in Nepal as well as several local charities. The 2022 event was postponed from March until November due to New Zealand’s COVID restrictions, meaning the 2023 staging was held just five months after the second event.
“We felt we needed to come up with a different way to raise funds and this certainly seems to be something different,” Mike says. “And so it has proved, with the entry numbers continuing to rise.”
In 2023, OrangeSky was chosen as the recipient of funds raised from the run.
“OrangeSky launched its fifth New Zealand service in Hamilton last year,” Mike says. “It provides a mobile showering and clothes washing facility staffed by volunteers. The service is not just for homeless people, but also for those living in overcrowded accommodation without access to showers or washing facilities.”