Spending 30 minutes on the runway at JFK…and loving it!


Most days spending 30 minutes on the runway at JFK is just another typical taxi time situation, waiting for your turn to take off. Not particularly fun at all. This weekend, however, I was actually ON the runway, not in an airplane, thanks to the JFK Rotary Club and their annual Runway Run. It was AWESOME!

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For a few hours today runway 22L/4R was closed to aircraft and more than 750 participants headed out for a 5k fun run. Some folks took it more seriously than others – the winners were in the 15 minute range, while I was in the middle of the pack at 32 minutes – but even for the folks not looking for a competitive race, the fun factor of being on the runway with the planes passing overhead was tremendous.

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The course took us from the fire department training facility out on to taxiway echo and then on to 22L, about 1.5 miles out and then 1.5 miles back to the finish. And all along the way there were great views of the field and the planes coming and going. As is typical for JFK there were plenty of JetBlue and Delta flights, as well as a bunch of American Airlines departures. We also saw Korean Air, Lufthansa, Emirates, Taca and Avianca, among others (some cargo, some passenger). The Lufthansa cargo departure actually exacted a huge cheer from the 20+ strong team of employees the carrier had at the event; that was fun.

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With just a tenth of a mile left in the race I stopped to celebrate at the edge of the taxiway:

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And then another photo at the finish line, after cooling off and walking out the fact that this was the first time I’d done anything remotely resembling running in a couple years.

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Looking forward to getting a bigger group together and doing it again next year. Definitely worth the early morning wake-up for the aviation geek fun.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and .

7 Comments

  1. Looks awesome. Do they have the dates for next year? What were the costs? Where did you stay?

    1. I don’t know the dates yet, Aeroman, but I’ll share them once I do. Registration was $25 or so and you also have to get out to JFK and back, which is cheap on mass transit, if a bit inconvenient because it is based from the administration building rather than the terminal.

      I stayed at home. Strange, I know, but I actually live in NYC officially.

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