120 ‘Run the Runway’ in pool fundraiser

Runners dash across the apron at the start of the nearly 4km course  in  the first Run the Runway...
Runners dash across the apron at the start of the nearly 4km course in the first Run the Runway event at Dunedin Airport yesterday morning. About 120 walkers and runners took part in the event. Photos: Linda Robertson
A strip of tarmac usually reserved for passenger aircraft reverberated to a different sound yesterday, as a squadron of runners and walkers powered down the Dunedin Airport runway.

The Run the Runway fundraiser was held for the first time at the airport yesterday, beginning at 6am to avoid a clash with the first scheduled flight out at 8.30am.

The almost 4km course drew about 120 competitors, who scampered across the airport’s apron and on to the runway, dashed down to one end, then to the other, before finishing back on the apron.

First home was Simon Bechmann (16), of Denmark, an exchange student living in Te Anau, who completed the race in 15 minutes and 14 seconds.

The first walkers took about an hour to cross the finish line.

Event organiser Irene Mosley, of the Rotary Club of Mosgiel, said between $4000 and $5000 was raised for the planned aquatic facility in Mosgiel, which was "really good money for an hour on a Sunday morning".

Ms Mosley, who is also the chairwoman of the Taieri Communities Facility Trust, which is fundraising for the pool, said competitors had enjoyed the event, which was the first of its kind in New Zealand.

"It was a really good atmosphere. People were friendly and got a buzz from being involved, which is what we hoped would happen."

She came up with the idea after seeing an advertisement for a similar event held at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

The logistics behind the event had been "a mission", and required 18 months’ work to get sign-off from the Civil Aviation Authority, she said.

Security was tight to ensure everyone taking part was off the runway at the end of the event, and that nothing was left behind that could become a hazard.

Competitors  ranged in age from 12 to over 80, and the runners "certainly said it was a good run".

"There were a couple of people who weren’t sure they would manage, but everyone seemed to get the whole distance."

She was already planning to talk to airport staff to see if the event could be repeated, and hoped it could even become an annual fixture.

"Everything went extremely well, so we’re hoping we will be able to get that opportunity again in the future.

"I think that would really put us on the calendar as an event that Dunedin’s got that is unique."


Actually first walkers took 35 minutes. Last ones took 55. I was at the finish line after being one of the faster runners right to be the last one on the Tarmac.