Run the Runway 5K set to take off from Meriden Markham Airport March 26

MERIDEN — The Meriden Running Club is set to host its first Run the Runway 5K on the tarmac of Meriden Markham Municipal Airport this month, with organizers anticipating hundreds of participants.

Proceeds from the event will benefit both the MidState Arc enrichment center for adults with special needs and development projects at the airport while giving runners an opportunity to run on an active runway.

The race is set to take off at 9 a.m. on March 26, with a children’s fun run scheduled for 8:45 a.m. and will include a raffle offering a free flight out of the airport for participants who sign up before March 12, said Derek Destefano, race director and Meriden Running Club founder.

Destefano stressed the race is tailored for participants of all age brackets and ability levels, adding the flat terrain of the race path in south Meriden will make for an easily accessible event.

“This race is going to have participants of all ages,” Destefano said. “The flatness definitely helps with that, and it’s just for a great cause as well, so it all fits together.”

The “cause” behind the race, donations to MidState Arc, will contribute to an over 70-year-old, Meriden-based organization that seeks to “empower people with disabilities to develop skills, form meaningful relationships, contribute to their community and meet the challenges of daily life,” according to a description on the MidState Arc website.

While raising awareness for MidState Arc, Meriden Airport Manager Constance Castillo is hopeful the upcoming road race will also provide exposure for the over 100-year-old Meriden Markham Airport itself, which she said offers free flights for children twice a year.

“We often say we're a hidden gem in the city,” Castillo said. “We’re tucked away in South Meriden. So, we thought we'd do the 5K which would involve adults and then we have the fun run for kids as well.”

Registration is currently open through the Meriden Running Club website,, with sign up available until 15 minutes before the race kicks off, Destefano said. So far, the race is on track to meet and exceed turnout expectations.

Destefano hoped a minimum of roughly 100 participants would sign up to run, and as of now, more than 60 residents have already registered.

“It’s been working out pretty good so far,” Destefano said. “ We've gotten a lot of good response so far for this race. This should be a pretty big event for our community, which is really something to be excited about.”

The 5K and kids run, which will start and end on the Meriden Markham runway, will be held regardless of weather conditions, Castillo said.

Castillo pitched the race as an out of the ordinary experience for runners with a unique venue for a road race.

“We're just excited to be able to hold it here and we're hoping for good turnout whether it's rain or shine,” she said. “And I think it's just going to be be a fun event to give people the opportunity to actually walk and run on a runway, which most people have probably never done.”


More From This Section