CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Oct. 23 was a day of getting out and walking in Charlotte for two causes aimed at helping others.
The 14th annual Runway 5K at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport saw participants take to the tarmac in lieu of the skies. About 1,500 people registered for the 5K and took the course at the airport's taxiways and a runway.
For the third time, the runway raised money for an airport opportunity scholarship at Central Piedmont Community College, which promotes careers in aviation and economic growth in Charlotte. Since 2007, More than 21,000 people have taken part to help raise more than $250,000 for local nonprofit agencies.
It was also a unique experience for those who chose to get out. Jenni Hupp said she was able to enjoy the run and loved hitting the pavement.
"I'm 55 years old and I'm just thrilled to be able to run, said Hupp. "I didn't run all the way but I'm thrilled and I'm blessed."
Charlotte's Third Ward was also the site of a walk dedicated to helping the Alzheimer's Association. The Walk to End Alzheimer's was one of 17 that happened across North Carolina, raising funds for patient care, family support, and research on how to combat the disease. The association says the Tar Heel State alone has more than 180,000 people facing the disease.
Participants were able to participate in different neighborhoods around the city and even virtually because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Romona Halloway participated in the walk, and she said the disease has far-reaching effects beyond the person facing it; caregivers and loved ones are also hit hard.
"Our mind is everything, and what Alzheimer's and other dementias do is rob our loved ones of their minds," she said. "They forget everything about us and everything about themselves sometimes. It's very difficult to feel like you've been forgotten by someone you love."