Most of us have run a race at some point in time. Maybe it was a race on your school sports day – and you either grabbed a shiny cup or medal or tasted dirt in front of the entire school. Or maybe it was a race with a sibling or a childhood friend – a race with no objective but bragging rights. Or maybe, like a tiny percentage of us, you have run a marathon in your city. Or just maybe you’re one of those, uh, nauseatingly fit people who spring up out of bed while it’s still dark, head out onto the street and start running.
But have you ever imagined running on a smooth, endless surface, surrounded by a large open green expanse, with the wind in your hair and airplanes zooming over your head? That is exactly what is on offer at India’s first runway race. Yes, you read that right – it’s a race on an airport runway.
The Heart of It
Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru, is celebrating their 10th anniversary and to commemorate the occasion, they’re going all out of the box – no simple banners and decorations for them. They’re holding a race on one of their runways on the 8th of May. The 10K Run, as they’re calling it, is open to anyone over the age of 18 and they have been accepting applications for it on their website. The race will have a total of 100 carefully screened participants, all dashing along the runway.
As anyone who’s a frequent traveler to Bangalore will know, the Kempegowda International Airport is closed for maintenance every Tuesday afternoon. No flights are scheduled between 12 and 3 pm on Tuesdays and this is the time that has been chosen for this unconventional race. The race begins at 12.45 hours and will end at 14:15 hours, giving the airport authorities ample time to get the runway going again for scheduled flights.
Of course, not just everyone has been able to apply for participation in the runway race. Applicants have had to submit their past accolades along with their application, so it’s a given that only serious runners will be considered for the event. Over 400 applications have already been received and from them, the authorities have chosen 100 to participate in the event.
The race is being organized by BIAL, Bengaluru International Airport Limited and it has the stamp of approval from the DGCA.
Yes, it’s a race, but there are no prizes for the taking this time around. All you’ll get is that surreal experience and much like those childhood races, some serious bragging rights.
This is the first runway race being organized in India. All over the world, there are a number of airports that turn their runway into race tracks annually. There are annual fundraising races at both JFK, New York and Heathrow, London. Toronto’s Pearson International Airport has been hosting annual races for over 10 years now. But in India, the concept of a runway race has been unheard of till now. We do hope that it becomes an annual feature at the Bengaluru airport!
For now, spectators are kept out of the event. Internationally, the races are a grand affair with spectators, family and friends. Here in Bangalore, the only spectators will be the ground maintenance staff and the organizers. If there are further editions of the race, then we’re crossing our fingers that the authorities plan to let spectators in. Some of us will only run if a building’s on fire, but we can definitely watch people running just for the heck of it!
Where: Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru
When: 8th May, 12:45 hours to 14:15 hours
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