Everyone at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is very excited about the airport’s 5K Run on the Runway on September 10. Weeks of preparation have gone into making the return of this favorite event a great day for all involved. The team of PHL staffers, led by race co-chairs Pamela Johnson, Executive Assistant to Interim CEO Keith Brune, and John Glass, PHL’s Compliance Training Superintendent, have planned a special day. Brune will also be a five-time returning runner.
The PHL Newsroom caught up with Pam and John—while they managed to be in the same room at once—to talk about what goes into preparing for an event of this size.
PHL Newsroom: It’s almost race time, have either of you helped to coordinate the 5K Run on the Runway in the past?
John: I’ve worked on all the previous races, but this is my first time as co-chair.
Pam: This is my first time as co-chair, but I have worked in some capacity since 2017 in four of the five past races.
What’s different about this year’s race?
JG: We’re trying to expand the charities and sponsorships that are involved to get more funds directly to our charities
by bringing in businesses that are donating money, nourishment, food trucks, pacesetters, and water. We haven’t done before that in the past.
PJ: John’s right, by including more sponsors, we have more donations than we’ve have in the past. We’ll be able to give more money this year and we will have more amenities to share with the runners and walkers.
What has been the biggest challenge as co-chairs for the 5K?
PJ: The behind-the-scenes paperwork has been the biggest challenge! Unfortunately, past chairs are not available to assist us when we began planning the race. Thankfully, John and I work well together so the challenges are manageable.
JG: Using an active runway for a race involves a lot more clearances than we expected. We had to file paperwork with FAA, TSA and PennDOT to coordinate the logistical matters. Although we didn’t want to “reinvent the wheel” when we approached this project, we had no choice in some circumstances because there was no template to follow.
PJ: That and the need for volunteers. PHL staffers who are volunteering to work on race day will be assigned to water stations, registration tables, meal stations, and at ID verification posts.
This is the first in-person 5k Run the Runway since pandemic restrictions were lifted. How are registration numbers compared to past races?
PJ: Since its inception, the race has grown in involvement. Although the number of racers were capped each year, we’ve always come close to or have exceeded the anticipated number of participants each year. Again, for this year, we have raised the capped number of racers to accommodate the growing interest of individuals who want to run with us.
JG: That’s great for us, it means more runners and walkers. Johnson, Mirmiran &Thompson (JMT) has helped a lot by getting things like pacesetters and water stations through contributions from new sponsors.
What’s your hope for race day?
JG: I’m hoping it will be a gorgeous day, that people will have smiles on their faces, that we will raise lots of money for the charities and that everyone will have a fun time. At the end of the day, we’ll help others by getting the money we raise to the people who need it the most.
PJ: Helping others and seeing the smiles on everyone’s face, especially after being cooped up for two years. I hope it’s a nice day to be out and around folks. It’s supposed to be a nice day, we’re ready to race.
Proceeds from the 5K will benefit the March of Dimes, Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) and Eastwick United (EU).