Runners take off at Quebec City airport

More than a thousand runners had the opportunity to take off on a unique racecourse Saturday — giving all new meaning to the word "runway."

Some 1,200 fleet-footed racers took to the main tarmac at Quebec City's Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB), participating in the first edition of the 5 KM YQB on the airport's main runway — the first race of its kind in the province.

Of the participants, 200 children enrolled in a 1.5-kilometre race. All the while, airplanes were still lifting off and landing on a secondary runway.

"People from the Quebec City area have been asking us for years if they can visit the airport, even if they do not fly, we felt that there was interest from the people of Quebec to visit their airport,"  airport spokeswoman Laurianne Lapierre told La Presse canadienne.

Lapierre said the event was inspired by similar events at airports such as the John F. Kennedy in New York City, Pearson in Toronto and Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc.

Daniel Coulombe/Radio-Canada

"This is a concept that is being used in airports all over the world, but it's the first time in Quebec and we're very excited to receive it," she said.

Runners and their guests were able to visit kiosks, meet crew members and explore various aircraft throughout the event which was restricted to registered guests for safety reasons.

The money raised for this event will go to the Fondation CERVO, which supports mental health research, and Centraide Québec et Chaudière-Appalaches, which supports a large network of community organizations.