Written by Daddy:
Last weekend was a busy athletic weekend for Connor. Recently, the airport closest to our house, Ft Lauderdale/Hollywood International, expanded their south runway. This project has been decades (yes decades) in the works and was finally completed. Back in August, prior to the runway opening, the American Cancer Society announced they would be having a 5k on the Runway. Unfortunately, a week prior to the event, they postponed it. I assumed that meant cancelled but they were adamant that they were going to have it. In late January, I received an email stating that the run had finally been rescheduled for Saturday, February 28, 2015. I immediately signed back up and emailed the event organizer to inquire about pushing a stroller. I figured Connor and I have spent countless hours watching planes take off and land at that airport, how awesome would it be if he could be out on the runway. At first I was told they wouldn’t allow strollers. I kept pestering and eventually they informed us that strollers would be allowed but we had to officially register and pay for the child as if they were running. Within minutes of receiving the email, Connor was officially registered. I was so excited. Two of my favorite thing (running and airplanes) were being combined into one event that I would get to experience with my big little buddy.
Unfortunately due to security concerns, we had to be parked by 6am. That meant waking up around 5 and being out the door by 5:30 to account for inevitable traffic (which proved to be a smart move). With the weather forecast clearing up, Mommy decided to bring Caleb to cheer on Daddy and Connor. So out the door we went an hour before the sun came up. Mommy dropped us off and drove to a park on the south side of the runway to watch us go. At around 6:45, they opened the gates for all 3500 runners to begin the almost half mile trek the start line. Of course we stopped for pictures. I think it took us almost as long to venture that half mile as it did to run the 5k.
After stopping for pictures in front of the runway, sitting on the tire marks, sitting of the 29L sign and countless other places, the race started. We lingered towards the back because I didn’t want to run people over with the stroller at the start line. Connor ran for the almost a full mile before jumping in the stroller. He would get in and out about every quarter mile but definitely ran more than half. At one point as we ran up the elevated portion of the runway, we stopped to take a picture overlooking the Spirit Airlines fleet which was cool because they planes were on a lower level. Connor loved going back down the sloped portion of the runway especially when I would let go of the stroller and run alongside him. As we came to the finish line, Connor jumped out of the stroller and ran the final half mile. I was super excited when I glanced at the race clock to see a clock time of 32:04 as we crossed the line. After we finished, we walked back towards the entrance gate to collect our medals. As we glance back up the east end of the runway, it was monsooning. We called mommy and told her to start heading our way and we would meet her in the middle. Mommy found us and Connor proudly displayed his medal. He was so proud of his accomplishment. He wore his medal the entire day (he even showed it to Brad Meltzer later that day).
In the end, our official time was 30 minutes, 33 seconds. It was an awesome experience not only to be on the runway but because I got to share the experience with Connor.