'2nd Sunday' event at blue grass airport

Fitness takes over airport runway at 2nd Sunday

event encourages physical activity in a safe environment

cclaybourn@herald-leader.comJune 13, 2011 

It's not often people can freely stroll along an airport runway, doing virtually whatever they choose.

"This is perfect," said Lexington resident Richard Hufana, who brought both his kids, Garrett and Keller, to the 2nd Sunday event at Blue Grass Airport on Sunday. "How many opportunities do you get to get on a runway at an airport? Very few, if any at all."

The event, an exercise and fitness initiative begun by Diana Doggett and councilman Jay McChord, brought thousands to the airport's general aviation runway for the second straight year to indulge in a variety of outdoor activities, free of charge.

McChord said 2nd Sunday was based on a model from Bogota, Colombia, where several roads were closed for similar health and wellness activities.

"The goal was always to get communities like Lexington and others around the state to say, 'We don't want to exercise just once a year. We want to do this more than once,'" McChord said. "Now we're starting to do 2nd Sundays every month.

"You've got to give people a place to just exercise and be active in a fun way where it's not work — you're not training for a marathon."

During other months, the organizers close off streets downtown for the event. On Sunday, the runway drew people walking their dogs, setting up cornhole boards, and even just walking laps for exercise. Others chose to ride bikes, skateboards, or get around on rollerblades and scooters.

Many parents took advantage of what McChord called a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" to take their kids to see commercial planes take off and land up close on a runway.

Lexington resident Erin Hagan said that's what brought her and her 3-year-old son, Brian, out for their first 2nd Sunday event.

"He's obsessed with airplanes," she said. "He started walking at nine months and around then, we started coming to the airport to watch planes take off. He wanted to finally be on the runway."

McChord said part of the beauty of having the event at the airport is the access to perfectly flat asphalt. "This provides a place for kids to practice riding bikes and do it in a place where they can have confidence," he said. "Even if they're riding on a trail, they could potentially be a hazard to someone. Having that flat surface is key."

People of all ages enjoyed the weather. At mid-afternoon, the temperature was 81 degrees with a slight overcast. And when the sun later came out, free water and sunscreen was available for everyone.

Doggett said all of it created a welcoming atmosphere.

"No one's intimidated," she said. "Everyone feels like they belong in this venue. You're seeing grandparents with grandkids, and so on. It's just awesome."

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