The Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority is always looking for ways to get involved in health and wellness activities.
It's part of the core mission, according to Helen Tederous, the director of public affairs for the NFTA.
So when Dan Horan heard about a 5K race in Pittsburgh that utilized the airport runways and brought the idea to the NFTA, the entity was incredibly excited to make it work.
"I think a lot of people forget that public transportation is all about the environment," Tederous said. "People who ride the buses and ride the rails create less air pollution. And it's an important part of our mission to promote wellness and healthy living for people."
Which is how the Calspan Runway 5K was born.
Well, in part.
The NFTA was on board from the start to utilize the Niagara Falls International Airport for the Aug. 19 event and used its expertise to coordinate the many hoops, including FAA approval of using the tarmac and runways while shutting down the airport for flights that morning.
But for Horan and his wife, Anne, who own and operate Eclipse Multi-Sport, the idea was born out of the need to find something new to introduce to the Western New York running community.
This has been a challenging year for many local 5Ks that have canceled, postponed, or rescheduled their events. It's happened to the biggest names, such as the Linda Yalem Safety Run, which had been part of the Buffalo News Runner of the Year Series. Just recently, the trail races at the Woods at Bear Creek were rescheduled to Oct. 20 after low pre-registration numbers.
And the latest came when the 2018 Bob Ivory Run, sponsored by the St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute Alumni Association, moved its race to Aug. 10 from its annual slot in November.
The press release from the school noted that organizers moved the race to "a warmer weather month to attract both the serious and casual runner."
To be a successful running event, organizers need all types of runners. And for some, the typical 5K isn't as big a draw.
"You have to do something really unique to get runners to come out and not just those you expect, like the ones who want to get 150 races in a year, and there aren't many people like that," Anne Horan said. "You have to do something that has never been done before or that is so unique that runners want to do it to get something different than their T-shirt and a piece of pizza."
The Calspan Runway 5K is unique to Western New York. The starting line will be on the tarmac, as will the post-race party.
The certified course uses the taxiways with the middle part of the course on the main runway.
"Everyone sees everyone on this course," Horan said. "It's one big circle. There are no buildings or trees. You'll be able to see everyone when you're running."
The other unique thing about the race — passing through airport security to get to the starting line.
While you don't need your identification, runners, volunteers and spectators will have to pass through TSA screening, just as if they were getting on an airplane. So participants should allow themselves a little extra time.
That extra time also will give runners a chance to check out the airport that many in Western New York forget about.
"We get to showcase the airport in Niagara Falls, which is really such a beautiful facility," Tederous said. "A lot of people to utilize it and take advantage of the discount airlines. And there's such a cool factor to it."
There also is a charitable factor, with proceeds benefiting the Niagara Aerospace Museum and the Friends of Family Support Association, a group which supports the efforts of the Family Support Center on the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Base.
Wednesday, July 25
Ronald McDonald House 5K, 6:30 p.m. Ronald McDonald House, 780 West Ferry St..
Thursday, July 26
Daemen Athletics Summer Track Series No. 4, 6 p.m., Williamsville South High School, 5950 Main St., Williamsville
Friday, July 27
Seneca Hickory Stick 5K Summer Sizzler No. 2, 7 p.m., Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Club, 4560 Creek Rd., Lewiston
Saturday, July 28
The McGreevy Run for All Heroes 5K, 8:30 a.m., Portville Central School, 500 Elm St., Portville
Wild 5K, 9 a.m., trail run, Jamestown Audubon Center, 1600 Riverside Rd., Jamestown
Dash 'N Splash Family Fun Run, 2.5 miles, 9 a.m., Frontier Middle School, 2751 Amsdell Rd., Hamburg
Battle on Buffalo 5K, 9 a.m., Delaware Park
Randolph Toymakers 5K Fundraiser, 9 a.m., Weeden Park, Randolph
Darren Manzella-Lapeira Memorial 5K Run, 10 a.m., American Legion Post 434, 110 W. Main St. Brocton
Sunday, July 29
Lindsay Matthews Scholarship Race 5K, 10 a.m., Orchard Park Soccer Complex, 6909 Milestrip Rd., Orchard Park
Tuesday, July 31
Jackhammer Trail Series No. 1, 3.2-mile trails, 6:30 p.m., Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park
Thursday, Aug. 2
Daemen Athletics Summer Track Series No. 5, 6 p.m., Williamsville South High School, 5950 Main St., Williamsville
Friday, Aug. 3
Run For The Corn, 2.2 miles and 3.8 miles, 6:30 p.m., Behind the Eden Elementary School, 8289 N. Main St., Eden
Saturday, Aug. 4
Old First Night Run/Walk, 2.75 miles, 8 a.m., Chautauqua Institution, One Ames Ave., Chautauqua
Dunkirk Lakefront 5K, 9 a.m., Dunkirk Boardwalk Pier, 22 Central Ave., Dunkirk
Christine Padasak Memorial Autism Awareness 5K, 9:30 a.m., The Children's League parking lot, 393 North St., Springville
Beast of Burden 100 Mile, 50 Mile, 25 Mile, 10 a.m., The Nelson C. Goehle Widewaters Marina, 718 Market St., Lockport
St. Christopher Summerfest 5K, 6:30 p.m., St. Christopher Church, 2660 Niagara Falls Blvd., Tonawanda
Sunday, Aug. 5
Run 716, 15K, 7:16 a.m., Flying Bison Brewing Headquarters, 840 Seneca ST.
Stephen's Cross-Country Run, 6K, 9 a.m., Long Point State Park, 4459 Lakeside Dr., Bemus Point
Monday, Aug. 6
Mud Run, 6.5K cross country, 6:30 p.m., Erie County Reforestation Refuge, S. Feddick Rd., Boston
Tuesday, Aug. 7
Jackhammer Trail Series No. 2, 3.2-mile trails, 6:30 p.m., Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park
Thursday, Aug. 9
Checker's Athletic Club Mueller Mile, 6:30 p.m., 11 Main St., Tonawanda
Friday, Aug. 10
40th Annual Bob Ivory Run 5K, 6:30 p.m., St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute, 845 Kenmore Ave.
Saturday, Aug. 11
Erie County Fair 5K, 8:30 a.m., Gate 6 Erie County Fairgrounds, Hamburg
Cross Country Crusade, 5K cross-country, 10 a.m., Knox Farm State Park, 437 Buffalo Rd., East Aurora
Raby Family Memorial 5K, 11 a.m., Lew-Port Senior High School, 4061 Creek Rd., Youngstown
Monday, Aug. 13
RUT Race, 3.4 miles cross-country, 7 p.m., Bond Lake Park, 2571 Lower Mountain Rd, Lewiston
Tuesday, Aug. 14
Jackhammer Trail Series No. 3, 3.2-mile trails, 6:30 p.m., Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park
Wednesday, Aug. 15
31st Annual Moonlight Run 5K, 8 p.m., Glen Avenue at North Cayuga, Williamsville
Saturday, Aug. 18
Metro 10, 10 Miles, 5 Miles, 8 a.m., Bullard Park, Albion
Muddy Buffalo Obstacle Course Run, 5 miles, 9 a.m., Buffalo Ski Club, 7414 State Rd., Coldlen
Sunset Bay Experience Reach the Beach 5K, 9:30 a.m., Sunset Bay Beach Club, Iola Dr., Irving
KIA Memorial Road March, 10K, 11 a.m., Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park
Sunday, Aug. 19
Embrace Unity 5K, 9:30 a.m., Delaware Park at Parkside
Calspan Runway 5K, 10 a.m., Niagara Falls Airport, 8800 Porter Ave., Niagara Falls
Tuesday, Aug. 21
Eden 5K, 6:30 p.m. Eden Elementary School, 8289 N. Main St., Eden
Jackhammer Trail Series No. 4, 3.2-mile trails, 6:30 p.m., Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park
Thursday, Aug. 23
Lancaster Striders Mile, 6:30 p.m., Como Lake Park, Lancaster
Friday, Aug. 24
Seneca Hickory Stick 5K Summer Sizzler No. 3, 7 p.m., Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Club, 4560 Creek Rd. Lewiston
Saturday, Aug. 25
Tops 5K and 10K Run for Roswell, 9:30 a.m., Tops Corporate Headquarters, 1760 Wehrle Dr., WIlliamsville
Seneca Street Mile, 6 p.m., St. John's Church, 2315 Seneca St.
Glow Your Mind, 4K, 8:30 p.m., Jamestown Savings Bank Arena, 319 West Third St., Jamestown
Sunday, Aug. 26
Our Lady of Czestochowa Parish 5K, 11 a.m., 57 Center Ave., North Tonawanda
Tuesday, Aug. 28
Jackhammer Trail Series No. 5, 3.2-mile trails, 6:30 p.m., Chestnut Ridge Park, Orchard Park
Friday, Aug. 31
WNY Running Hall of Fame Presents Tom Donnelly's Hall of Fame 5K, 6:30 p.m., Elmwood and Bidwell