Approximately 500 people are expected to join in the fun, taking advantage of the unique opportunity to run along a real runway at daybreak on the longest day of the year.
The Summer Solstice Sprint will raise funds for Sophie’s Appeal – a local Southampton charity which provides support to children, their parents or carers, nursing and support staff who find themselves suddenly faced with the reality of childhood cancer. The charity’s patron and ex-Southampton Football Club player, James Beattie, officially launched the event at the airport.
James Beattie said: “What a fantastic opportunity for people to help a charity so close to my heart. I know Sophie would have loved to taken part in such a unique event, especially with her dad, on Father’s Day.”
Kevin Montgomery, Airport Fire Service Station Manager and organiser of the event added: “It’s an early start but what better way to welcome dawn than on the day of the Summer Solstice? The airport will be open for normal for flights from 07:30am, so runners can be back home in time for breakfast.”
Mike Barringer, Chairperson and Trustee of Sophie’s Appeal – and Airside Operations Duty Officer at Southampton Airport, said “We are so grateful to Southampton Airport for giving us and our supporters an opportunity that very few people will ever experience, the chance to run on the runway Southampton Airport. We have enjoyed fantastic support from Southampton Airport and its staff over the last ten years and the money raised from this event will make a huge difference to the lives of many local children battling or recovering from life threatening illnesses.”
Jan Halliday, Director of Marketing & Communications at Southampton Airport, said “It’s been more than 10 years since we last hosted a run on our runway and we’re delighted to welcome this fundraising event back again. It’s a pleasure to support Sophie’s Appeal and we hope the event raises plenty of funds to help the charity achieve its goals.”
At the end of the run, prizes will be awarded for the fastest runner in male, female and junior (12-16yrs) categories, to the person who raised the most money and to the best dressed team. Participants are encouraged to run in fancy dress.