First time in 100 years: Love Field’s 5k on the Runway

By Joe Snell | DFW Newsflash | August 2017

A week before Love Field’s 5k on the Runway, Karyn Nyholm was planning to go to a different race, then her running friends intervened.

“All of my friends said, ‘No, we’re doing this race. It’s going to be really cool,’” she said.

An avid runner, Nyholm would go on to be the first woman to cross the finish line in a time of 19:21. She, along with 2,100 runners, took part in the city of Dallas’ celebration of Love Field’s 100th anniversary on Saturday, May 13 with a race on the airfield’s tarmac, a course that Nyholm described as the fastest she’s ever run.

“It is surreal because it’s so wide open and even the road is so wide,” said Ross Lorber, the men’s champion with a time of 16:13. “Because there are turns every once in a while, you have to think about where you’re going, otherwise you’ll end up running way too far.”

Lorber was in town from Omaha, Nebraska and joined a number of out of town racers who did not want to pass up the experience. The idea came from the city of Dallas and Love Field, who hired On Your Left (OYL) Marketing and Events to put the event together. The Dallas based company puts on between 40 and 50 running events annually across the country.

“For people to support 5ks is tremendously important,” said Eric Lindberg, the agency’s Chief Executive Officer (or in OYL’s terms, Chief Running Officer). “There are so many non-profits in this market and across the country that put on 5ks and they try to do it to raise money for their cause, whatever it may be. It’s important to support them, find the one in your neighborhood, go and run it, and have a blast. It may not be the largest event, but you’re supporting a great cause.”

All money raised from the 5k on the Runway goes toward a Love Field scholarship program for young people interested in pursuing aeronautics.

Sixty volunteers helped OYL throughout the day, from setting up booths to passing out medals. Tony Ernst found out about the event online, and after his daughter decided to run the race, he agreed to volunteer. He passed out medals at the start and finish line.

“It’s once in a lifetime that we can get out here,” Ernst said about being on the runway. “The runners really enjoyed it because it was a nice, flat pavement, and a lot of them did a personal best time.”

Lindberg believes 5ks are just as important for kids as they are adult racers.

“For kids to see other people out there and being involved in fitness, I think is a great example,” Lindberg said. “We had somebody that ran this race in 16 minutes, and we had somebody run this race in an hour and 16 minutes. It doesn’t matter. They’re all out there doing it, and they covered 3.1 miles and had a great time and burned some calories.”

Organizing a race on an airfield’s runway was a unique challenge for Lindberg and his staff.

“There’s lots of moving parts from the Frontiers of Flight Museum to the city of Dallas to FAA to TSA to Love Field Airport,” he said. “It’s a lot of juggling all of those entities and getting them all on the same page and in one direction, almost like the start of a race.”

Lindberg isn’t sure if Dallas is putting the event on again next year, which makes this year’s event that much more special.

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to run this event,” Lindberg said. “To experience what people experienced today is pretty incredible. Watching all of the runners on the runway in a timed race where they’re trying to run as fast as they can, decide to stop and take pictures, because they don’t know if their feet will be on the runway again, it’s pretty cool.”