04/23/2014 04:38 EDT | Updated 06/23/2014 05:59 EDT

Calgary Invited To Run Runway At YYC Airport

Participants in a 5k fun run fill the new runway at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, in Atlanta, Saturday, May, 20, 2006. About 1,500 runners gathered at the airport for the run that's part of the celebrations for the opening of the $1.3 billion fifth runway. (AP Photo/John Amis)
CALGARY - It's not often you get to set foot on a major airport runway — never mind one that is 4.2 kilometres long.

The Calgary Airport Authority is inviting the public to a weekend event dubbed Run and Roam the Runway, June 14-15, to celebrate the completion of its newest landing strip.

Under construction since 2011, it's the longest runway in Canada.

Participants are welcome to run or walk the entire length and back (8.4 kilometres) or join a five-kilometre fun run. The "BodyBreak" fitness team of Hal Johnson and Joanne McLeod will lead a warm-up.

As well, a festival geared to families will include vintage plane displays and aviation exhibits.

Aircraft will start using the $620-million runway on June 28, said airport authority spokesperson Jody Moseley.

She said Calgary International Airport needs a long runway because of its altitude — a little over 975 metres above sea level, which means "aircraft require more runway length to arrive and take off, especially during hot summer days."

Currently, the biggest planes in the world might have to take off at the airport with a reduced payload, she said.

"This new runway allows them to take off completely full of people and cargo."

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