Hundreds of people race in the first-ever Runway 5K at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport

Racers ran to remember the late wife of an airport staff member

Hundreds of racers ran in a 5K to remember the late wife of an airport staff member.

ROANOKE, Va. – Normally, planes are only allowed on the runway at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.

But Saturday morning, hundreds of racers ran in a 5K to remember the late wife of an airport staff member.

Rather than a plane taking off, 525 runners laced up and took off on Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport’s (ROA) runway.

It’s the airport’s first 5K but there are intentions to make it a new tradition.

“We are going to do our best to make this an annual event,” ROA Executive Director Mike Stewart said. “We may change the date a little bit and put it on a memorable date or something. But looking forward to doing this every year.”

The run was created to honor the memory of Julie Jeavons who passed away after a battle with breast cancer.

Her husband, David, who is the airport’s finance director, was touched to see the overwhelming support.

“When Julie was first diagnosed with cancer all she wanted to do was run,” David said. “So, she entered as many runs as she could, got a lot of medals.”

Air traffic was free for two hours to allow racers to run two and a half laps and claim their medal, but the main goal was to raise money for the Carilion Clinic Cancer Center.

Between sponsors, donors and runners, $25,000 was raised.

Daniel Kolasa finished the race in less than 18 minutes but was happy to use his passion to give back.

“I love how much money was raised for cancer research,” he said. “I find that it’s very important that we do this with events like this.”

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Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.