Air Guard's 174th Attack Wing, Hancock Field International Airport host 350 runners at Runway 5K Saturday

Media Advisory

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK (09/07/2023) (readMedia)-- Three hundred and fifty runners will take part in the Runway 5 K sponsored by the New York Air Guard's 174th Attack Wing and Hancock Field International Airport on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 8 a.m.

Members of the press are invited to cover the event.

WHO: 350 runners from across the region, Col. John O'Connor, commander of the 174th Attack Wing, and Matt Szwejbka, experience manager for the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority.

WHAT: This unique race will take place on an actual runway. Arriving and departing aircraft will use the airport's secondary runway during the event. The course will also feature two of the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft flown by the 174th Attack Wing along the race route.

WHERE: Media will enter Hancock Field Air National Guard Base through the Thompson Road gate.

WHEN: The race begins at 8.a.m.Saturday, September 9. Runners will begin arriving at 6:30 a.m. and media should arrive no later than 7:30 a.m.

Coverage opportunities:

Still and video images of opening remarks by O'Connor Szwejbka, the race itself, closing remarks, and the award ceremony. There will be an opportunity to interview both O'Connor and Szwejbka.

Members of the press must call Major Suzanne Jedrosko at 315-744-0693 by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8, for access to this secure military facility. Press must have identification.


The 2022 Runway 5 K race attracted 402 runners from across the area.

Col. John O'Connor, commander of the 174th Attack Wing, and an avid runner, said he is looking forward to both hosting and participating in the race this year.

"As a runner, I'm always looking for new and exciting places to run," O'Connor said. For people looking for a distinct, rewarding physical fitness challenge, the Runway 5K offers just that.

The age group awards will be 19 and under, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-74, 75-80, and 80+ for males and females.

Runners who place in their age categories will not only receive medals but will also be given special military patches and challenge coins unique to the 174th Attack Wing.

The top overall male and female runners will be given custom made MQ-9 model trophies.

Staff Sgt. Colin Kistner, the lead planner for the inaugural 5K and co-lead for this year's race, said he is looking forward to another successful event.

"We are happy and excited to bring back the event for this year and hopefully years to come," Kistner said.

At 9,000 feet, the Syracuse airport main runway is 1.7 miles long. A 5k race is 3.1 miles, a little less than a run down the length of the runway and back.

Another exclusive feature of the race, in addition to running on the tarmac, is that it begins and ends on a military installation, surrounded by both commercial and military aircraft. This gives the participants a special sneak peek behind the scenes of an Air National Guard base.

All racers will receive t-shirts as part of the registration package. In 2022, all runners received the same color shirts. 2023 will feature a new concept, with two different shirt colors. Military members will be running in orange shirts to represent the 174th Attack Wing, whose unit colors are blue and orange, while civilians will receive red shirts.