March 31, 2015
About two weeks ago, I received a cryptic e-mail about running on the Long Beach Airport Runway. This does not sound like a good idea, since the traffic on the runways always exceed 100 miles per hour. Even Usain Bolt is not that fast!
Well, apparently, the surface of the runway needs to be re-asphalted every 15-20 years due to wear and tear. One of Long Beach Airport (LGB)’s runways just was completed and the city figured a good way to show it off and to celebrate would be to let people run on it.
To do so, you needed to register online with your information and include your shirt size (free shirt – just what I need). The timing of the run would work OK for me because it was at 2pm on a Tuesday, but I would be very surprised if a lot of people showed up because it is in the middle of the day.
Since the runway is only a half-mile long (roundtrip 1 mile), I figured to get in a little extra exercise by walking to and from the airport (though tonight I also have my speed workout with TRH on the track). I brought along a (used) book I had recently purchased (a short story by Solzhenitsyn) and timed it so I would arrive about 45 minutes before the event.
When I arrived, there was already a rather long line, but I spotted a few folks I know (some in front of me and some behind). Once we got inside the gate (didn’t even have to show ID), the check-in was alphabetical by… FIRST Name. This was a total zoo and a lot of folks didn’t even have their pre-registered information. There were a LOT of people here (over 500).
There was a bit of a delay getting started and I lined up with Chuck and Laura. The race was not going to be timed, but I still wanted to see what I could do a mile in (with meanderers around me, no less). It was a weird surface to run on (macadam?), slightly better than concrete, obviously not as forgiving as packed dirt trail. Both Chuck and I finished in the Top Ten, right around 7 minutes (7:02 for me, Chuck slightly slower). They were interviewing and had minor prizes for the top 3 (wish they had said that… maybe I could have run a little faster).
After I finished, there were still lots of people who had not reached the far end yet, so I decided I would do another 1 mile loop, race-walking this time to see if I could catch up to the slow pokes. Yes, 12:38
Chuck and Laura offered me a ride home, but in getting my free lemonade, muffins and cookies, I misplaced them and ended up having to walk home on my own (well, not all of the way; a friend passed me on the road and waved… and then offered me a ride the final mile).
My take-away was a free mile (or two) run, a flat orange water bottle, an orange commemorative shirt and 5 airplane pens.