5K On The Runway Raises $50K For Cancer Centre

Gord Mahaffy


The weather grounded the CF-18 that was supposed to make a low pass down the runway. The weather grounded the photorecon plane that was supposed to take aerial pictures of the event. The weather even grounded the tethered balloon that was supposed to give passengers a bird’s eye view of the airport.

But the weather could not stop more than 500 volunteer runners and walkers who raised more than $50,000 for the Hearth Place Cancer support centre in Oshawa, serving cancer patients and their families across the region.

After an economic impact study suggested by COPA President/ CEO Kevin Psutka and some active Flight 70 members from Oshawa, city councillors started supporting the Oshawa airport. A major building campaign was started and the number of aircraft movements increased.

But the Oshawa airport is located inside a growing city. Maintaining good relations with our neighbours and residents is vitally important. So to further good relationships with the community, the airport management and the city council agreed to close the airport on Sunday Oct. 24, and allow volunteers to raise money for Hearth Place with a “Run the Runway” event.

On a rainy Sunday, when not even the Seagulls were flying, more than 500 runners including COPA Flight 70 members (Hannu H., Lee Arsenault and Karl Soihtu) completed a 5K run on runway 12-30. Other Flight 70 members volunteered to act as runway marshals (including Cheryl Marek and Gord Mahaffy).

John Levasseur even hauled his Zenith from its warm dry hangar onto the cold, wet ramp so the general public could see a homebuilt airplane up close. This event also gave the residents of Oshawa an opportunity to visit the airside of their airport.

In hindsight, what appeared to be a dull, rainy day was turned into a complete success when 500 courageous runners defied the rain, defied cancer and raised more than $50,000.

Visit www.hearthplace.org for more information about Hearth Place.