Rotarians close JFK runway for good cause
The airplane on the tarmac signals the midpoint for runners during the Thomas Carmody Memorial 5K Runway Run. Photos courtesy of the Rotary Club of JFK International Airport
For more than 30 years, the Rotary Club of JFK International Airport, New York, USA, has taken over a major runway to raise thousands of dollars through a 5-kilometer race.
“It is a unique race, as the main runway is actually closed to aircraft landing and taking off,” says Emmlynn Taylor, the group/sponsorship chair for this year’s Thomas Carmody Memorial JFK Rotary Club 5K Runway Run, held on 13 April at John F. Kennedy International Airport, which serves the New York City area. Planes are routed to a secondary runway during the event.
The club raised close to $10,000 from registration fees, raffle tickets, and sponsorships. More than 350 individuals, ranging from babies in strollers to seniors in their 80s, participated.
The walkers, runners, and stroller pushers departed from the starting line at 9 a.m. and landed at about 10:30 a.m. The airplanes returned to the tarmac about an hour later.
After the race, everyone was bused to the Chef’s Orchid restaurant at the airport, where the top three male and female finishers in various age groups received medals. The club wrapped up the event with raffle prizes, which included airline tickets, New York Mets baseball tickets, a New York Jets autographed football, and gift certificates.
“One of our biggest supporters this year was JFK IAT [International Air Terminal], Terminal 4,” says Taylor. “They have been completely phenomenal with helping us get the word out about the fundraiser, gathering prizes, and a multitude of other behind-the-scenes tasks.”
The proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the Futures in Education Foundation scholarship program, Gift of Life International, the Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf, and other local and international organizations.
“As a club, most of the charities we support are based around children, their health and education,” says Taylor.
The JFK club has raised more than $300,000 since it inherited the race in 1975 from another service organization, which held the first event in 1972. The club named the race in honor of one of its founding members and past presidents, Thomas Carmody.
“It’s a fun event,” says Taylor. “I always tell people it’s the only time you can be on the runway and not get arrested.”