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Thought Leader Uncategorized Philanthropy

A 5k on an airport runway? Yeah, it happened…

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3.1 miles on a runway at the world’s largest airport. 1,985 runners from across the country lined up at dawn. And an Olympian, Mayor, United Way of Greater Atlanta’s spokeskid and our very own CEO were leading the pack.

That’s the scene from last weekend’s Mayor’s 5k on the 5th Runway at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. This is the second year of the race and the Greater Atlanta community amassed $185,340 for individuals, children and families who need it the most. That’s nearly double what we raised last year!

Whether you’re sprinting, jogging or walking, it’s safe to say that doing any of those on a runway is a unique experience. Just one hour after the race, 750,000 lb. planes were touching down on the same stretch of concrete.

This year’s race was also a bit more competitive. That’s because it was a USATF-certified 5k course and AJC Peachtree Road Race qualifier. The winner, Terrance Walker, flew in on a red-eye flight just for the race and arrived at the starting line minutes after deplaning. He won the race with a time of 16:55.

race2Another highlight of the race was the appearance of Atlanta native and Rio Olympics Bronze Medalist Kristi Castlin. Fresh off her win, she welcomed all the runners with both inspiration and photo opps. One of my favorite memories of the race was watching her talk to our spokeskid Priah’s little sister – a budding athlete herself.

From single runners and couples to families and teams, the air during the race morning was a bit humid, but more importantly, it was electric. Runners were smiling, cheering and hugging. They were line dancing and stretching to warm up. Eating bananas to avoid cramps. And they were raising money for a community they believe in! 

View the Mayor’s 5k on the 5th Runway Photo Gallery!


CherieCherie Neal is the Director of Events Marketing at United Way of Greater Atlanta. She can be reached at events@unitedwayatlanta.org.

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