2015 Manassas Runway 10k Recap

This past Sunday, the day after running the Jaguar 5k and getting a new 5k PR, I set out to earn a new 10k PR at the Manassas Runway 10k.  I first learned about this race from Jenny, and when I saw how flat this course was (what airport runway isn’t flat?), I knew that this would be a great choice for going after a new PR.  And boy did this race live up to the expectations, not just in achieving a new PR but being a great race all around!

The race was held at the Manassas Regional Airport, which is about 20 minutes west of Preston and I live.  For a total of $36 (I missed the early registration window of $35 so my registration was $40, but I had also come across a discount code online), I found this race to be of a great value for many reasons:

  • The field of runners was small (about 250 people ran the 10k, and less than 600 people ran the 5k
  • There was plenty of on course volunteer support
  • There were two water stops for the 10k, but the placement of the second one made it so that runners passed through it three times
  • Zero crowding on the course due to the small number of runners and the wide course during the first half of the race
  • Gender specific race shirts
  • Finishers medals for all runners
  • Plenty of porta potties (and the bathrooms inside of the airport terminal were also available for use)

There were two options for packet pickup: Saturday afternoon and the morning of the race.  I opted to pick up my bib the morning of the race, so Preston and I left our house early and with plenty of time to account for the small amount of traffic we encountered as we approached the airport.  There was only one entrance into the parking area, and only a couple of police officers directing traffic.  Preston made the joke that they could learn a thing or two from Disney World about directing traffic (Disney does seem to have it down!), but because we left early enough we didn’t find the traffic to be much of an issue.

airport terminal

Upon arrival at the airport, we headed straight inside a back area of the small airport terminal to pick up my bib and shirt.  Since Preston didn’t run this race, he held onto my shirt for me instead of us having to run it back to the car.  I hit up a porta potty after securing my bib to my shirt (I waited in line for less than five minutes), and then headed to the start line where I met up with Jenny and her boyfriend Cliff, who ran the 5k.

start line

Right at 7:30 a.m., the National Anthem was sung, and then we were given directions about the race split.  The 5k and 10k races were run simultaneously, with runners sharing the course until the course split just before mile 3 of the race.  We were instructed that at the split 10k runners were to stay to the left and 5k runners were to stay to the right.

The first half of the race was on the runway itself, which provided for ample space on the course.  Even though the field was about 2 5k runners for every 1 10k runner, the course never felt crowded and I never felt as though I couldn’t run at the pace that I wanted to.  Prior to the start of the race I debated whether I should run the first couple of miles at a 3:15/0:45 interval, or kick it immediately into high gear at 4:15/0:45.  Since I felt great I used the longer interval from the start, which I’m confident contributed to my PR.  The only obstacle to my race during the first half of the race was a strong headwind as we ran north on the runway between miles 1.5 and 2.5 of the race.

on the runway

After the course split, the course took 10k runners back towards the airplane hangers and towards a service road.  It was here that 10k runners encountered the only “hill” of the race (according to my Garmin my total elevation gain was a mere 83 feet).  Although the second half of the 10k course was on service roads, which were much more narrow than the runway itself, I continued to have plenty of space on the course and never once felt crowded.  Because there were only about 250 10k runners, I liked that the course was narrower and that there were several areas that the course doubled back.  It made it feel as though I was never by myself.

The closer that I got to the finish line, the more confident that I became in my ability to PR.  Throughout the race, I noticed that my Garmin was always slightly off from the mileage signs on the course and that I approached mile signs just before my Garmin said I had completed another mile.  I wonder if this was due to the smaller number of runners than I’m used to at a race, or if I had been really good about running the tangents, especially at turn around points on the course.  My Garmin logged only 6.13 miles during the race.

Approaching the finish line (Thanks Jenny for taking the awesome picture!)

Approaching the finish line (Thanks Jenny for taking the awesome picture!)

As I approached the finish line, I saw Preston, Jenny, and Cliff cheering just to the left of the finish line.  Preston motioned for me to run faster, and I put everything I could into the last hundred feet or so of the race.  I crossed the finish line at 1:01:56 (9:59 pace), and PRed by just shy of 4 minutes!

Post race with Jenny

Post race with Jenny

After receiving my medal, Preston and I decided to stick around and wait for the official race results to be posted.  Although it was chilly (46 degrees at the end of April is not the norm here!), we were able to wait inside of the airport terminal.  About 30 minutes after crossing the finish line the official 10k results were posted, and I learned that not only did I PR but that I also placed 5th in my age group!


Overall, it was a great race, especially for the low registration cost.  Although I have loved my two Dulles Day race experiences (the 5k in 2013 and the 10k in 2014), I also loved this race experience.  Both races were held on airport runways, which makes for fun and speedy races.

manassas 10k medal

QOTD: Have you ever run on an airport runway?

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53 Responses to 2015 Manassas Runway 10k Recap

  1. Pam says:

    Wow, an airport race sounds really fun. Congrats on your new PR and 5th AG. You have made such improvement in your times Kathryn. The hard work is really paying off!

  2. Sue @ This Mama Runs For Cupcakes says:

    I think I need to run this next year, although the thought of a boring runway kind of turns me off, but I’d love a good PR 🙂 Congrats to you!! Great job!

  3. Great job on the PR! I’ve never run on a runway before–I think it seems a little intimidating!

  4. Chaitali says:

    I’ve never done an airport runway race before either but your recaps make it sound like so much fun! I’m a little worried that the course would feel boring but the flatness might make up for that 🙂 And it does seem cool being able to see all the people around the course. Congrats on the 4 minute PR!

  5. Lesley says:

    I haven’t done an airport race but this one sounds like a good one to race since the crowd’s small. I did take a driving course on an old air force base runway and that was fun!

  6. Congrats again! I have always found this race to be interesting since it is on a runway. I think this is one race my sister should run since she is in the airline industry!

  7. Congratulations! The lack of crowds is definitely a major plus, living in NYC even charity 5ks have thousands and thousands of runners.

  8. i knew you could do it! you’ve gotten much faster and i’m excited to see you continue to work hard and see great results. way to go!

  9. Last year a new runway opened up in Calgary and there was a race, but I missed it. I think it would have been really cool to do.
    Congratulations on 2 PRs in 2 days, that’s amazing!!

  10. WOOHOO! Congrats on the PR!. I looooooves me a flat course, so this sounds PERFECT. 🙂 What a fun race!

  11. How cool to run on a runway! I think that’d be pretty awesome.. especially if I could take off and fly to somewhere tropical at the end haha. Congrats on the PR! What a great weekend you had!

  12. ishouldrun says:

    I’ve run on a runway before in the military. It wasn’t our idea though. We were made to do it. And it was no joke, mainly because it was blazing hot and the runway was like a frying pan. Also it’s a lot longer than it looks when you see something in the distance. You think, oh, I’m almost there right? Nope!

  13. YAY! Congrats on your PR! I have often dreamt of running on an airport runway but that normally involved chasing down an airplane or something weird. This race would be MUCH better than that! Lol.

  14. Great job on your race AND a PR! Woot!

  15. NutriFitMama says:

    Awesome job! And no, I have never ran on an airport runway 🙂

  16. I haven’t done an airport run. There was one here last year when the new runway was opened but I missed it. That’s such a great deal for a race!

  17. katemovingforward1234 says:

    Congrats on your PR!! I’ve never run at an airport, but I bet you could really pick up steam on that flat course. Great job!

  18. carmyy says:

    I keep hearing about airport runs! I really want to try one! But I feel like getting to one would be difficult since I don’t drive and they’re kind of in the middle of no where

  19. Jennifer says:

    Yayyy! When Cliff and I went to watch you finished he asked what time you would finish. I said “probably another 10 mins…1:01ish” Was fun to watch you finish strong with the huge PR! Glad you signed up for this and now I’m hoping I can fit in Dulles this fall. Glad to hear you had enough room for the second half of your race and the water stop (x2).

  20. Sam @ PancakeWarriors says:

    This sounds like my kind of race!!! Love no hills and plenty of space – that’s where the magic happens!! Awesome job on the PR!!

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  22. GiselleR says:

    yay for a great race and a PR!
    I’ve never been on an airport runway for anything other than flying lol but it does sound fun.

  23. this race sounds fun! congrats on the PR-you really rocked it last weekend

  24. Awesome job on the PR!! That’s around the time I’d like to run my next 10k in which is may 30th…we’ll see! PS – my BF and I have driven down to SC and driven past manassas and it always makes us laugh…yes, we’re real mature 😉

  25. haleyduke17 says:

    There was an airport runway run two weeks ago here in Tampa. I didn’t get to run it, but my friend did and she said it was awesome.
    I love smaller races. I just ran a smaller 5k and loved it.

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