It had been 22 years since the public was invited onto a runway at Long Beach Airport, and they certainly made the most of the opportunity. On Tuesday afternoon, more than 1,400 people attended a “Run The Runway” event at LGB to welcome the reopening of Runway 7L-25R and participate in a one-mile fun run.
Some participants ran like the wind and completed the mile in just around six minutes. Most people, however, took their time and enjoyed the sights and sounds of being on a runway while flights continued to operate around other areas of the airport. After all, there was a lot to see. Long Beach Fire Department Station 16 brought their emergency truck, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department brought a helicopter, Catalina Flying Boats brought their historic DC-3 and several small general aviation aircraft were also on display. If there was ever an event to inspire a future generation of pilots, it was Run the Runway at LGB.
Local elected officials also turned out to celebrate the event. Long Beach City Councilmembers included Al Austin, Roberto Uranga and Stacy Mungo. Lakewood Mayor Jeff Wood also attended, and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia cut the ribbon to officially mark the opening of 25R. The most coveted job of all, though, went to Long Beach Airport Director Bryant L. Francis, who waved a giant orange-checkered flag to mark the official start of the fun run.
If that wasn’t enough, local favorites MOVE brought the jams with performances before and after the run. Meanwhile, the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream truck offered delicious artisan treats. It was truly an all-encompassing event, made even better thanks to the enormous crowd and their excitement and enthusiasm.
Runway 7L-25R will officially open for aviation activity on April 17 as the secondary runway for commercial flights, and will handle a large portion of our general aviation activity.