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OTHER ARTICLES Last modified on December 29, 2013

Being charitable

More airports are raising funds for good causes with fun runs and plane pulls. Caroline Cook rounds up this year’s best charitable events.

Throughout 2013, airports around the globe have held fun days, runway runs and plane pulls to attract the crowds and raise money for charity.

Among the first off the starting blocks this year were Berlin Brandenburg and Tampa International, which both hosted an event on April 27.

Despite the much-delayed opening of Brandenburg, its south runway was put to good use when almost 4,000 runners battled the elements to complete the 10km race, equivalent to a half marathon.

Tampa welcomed more than 800 participants to its inaugural five kilometre runway fun run.

Kicking off the airport’s United Way Suncoast campaign, the event raised over $31,000 for community care and support.

Also hosting its first charity run, London Stansted squeezed in a break from its busy operations to boost funds for the Essex & Hertfordshire’s Air Ambulance Trust.

At 3am on June 24, 100 airport staff and air ambulance supporters donned their trainers in preparation for the race up and down the airport’s single 3,048m runway.

Sprinting ahead with arguably the most successful event of the year, Toronto Pearson’s June 15 runway run saw 2,600 joggers turn up for its sixth year.

Comprising a 5km run or a 2km walk, the event scored an incredible $150,000, with all proceeds going towards Toronto Pearson’s Community Investment Program, which funds local initiatives for a vital, sustainable and strong community.

More than 3,400 participants continued the year’s winning streak at Chicago O’Hare, where a 5km and 10km run on the runway, kids race and community day were held on September 29.

Runners were quick off the mark to grab the opportunity to sprint up Runway 10C-28C, weeks before the landing strip was scheduled to open to air traffic.

The festival included food vendors, live music, family activities and special exhibits, and raised funds for the Wounded Warrior project.

Across the pond, Aberdeen Airport hosted the Eastern Airways Runway Run at midnight on September 21 to rustle up funds for the cancer charity, CLIC Sargent.

Meanwhile, on September 30, 150 easyJet staff members raised more than €5,400 for UNICEF’s Change for Good programme by racing up the world’s busiest single runway at Gatwick Airport.

Budapest Airport’s first runway run got off to a flying start at the end of September, with 250 runners raising money to support sports activities for college students in need.

Washington Dulles roped in 70 teams for its annual Dulles Day Plane Pull and family festival on September 14. Boosting funds for Special Olympics Virginia, the teams of 25 had to tug an 82-ton FedEx freighter 12 feet.

The event, which included plane displays, a classic car show, airfield tours and live music, has raised $1.5 million since it started in 1992.

And last but not least, the C$80,000 raised by this year’s Plane Pull Challenge means that Ottawa Airport, in conjunction with Ottawa Senators Foundation, has raised more than C$380,000 for charity over the last eight years.

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