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TPA, United Way Suncoast: You Could Feel The Love At 5K On The Runway

   Before the sun rose on Tampa International’s 5K On The Runway on April 6, the MixOnWheels deejay filled the air with all kinds of high-energy music: Kool and the Gang’s Celebration, Madonna’s Ray of Light, Dua Lipa’s Levitating, Whitney Houston’s I Want To Dance With Somebody. But when he mixed in a souped-up version of Elton’s Can You Feel The Love, he struck just the right chord for the 10th version of this unique road race. 

   Certainly, you could feel the love between runners and the family members who came to cheer them on. Mothers and daughters, fathers and sons signed up to run together. In some instances, whole families took flight together on the runway.

   Heartfelt connections also emerged among the 2,000 runners who took comfort in knowing their participation supported United Way Suncoast, the beneficiary for all 10 races.

TPA+UWS=LOVE

   However, the shared admiration between the organization and Tampa International rose with the sun and continued to warm the day. TPA is not only America’s favorite airport, it’s United Way Suncoast’s favorite airport.

   From having Veronica Cintron, the Tampa International vice president of communications, emcee our annual R.I.S.E. and Shine Breakfast, to celebrating the airport’s spirited annual workplace campaigns, we continue to cherish the support we receive from TPA. Since 2012, it has raised $1.3 million for United Way Suncoast. Those dollars help United Way Suncoast invest in community partners and extend its mission of elevating early learning, energizing middle school and high school students and empowering community members and families.

   Of course, the love extends beyond dollars. Just the sheer magnitude of staging the 5K On The Runway leaves staff in awe. Every department contributes to the coordination, yet at every turn, TPA works to ensure United Way Suncoast is kept at the forefront. This resulted in UWS officials getting a chance to share about its mission work on WFLA-Ch. 8.

Never Too Much

   Not to be overlooked: Waypointe TPA and its restaurants delivering an incredible brunch, the Tampa Police Department providing security and managing traffic and parking and, of course, the volunteers who man water stations and ensure a positive experience and the multiple airlines donating free roundtrip tickets for the annual raffle: Avelo, Breeze, Cayman Airways, Delta, jetBlue, Spirit, Southwest and Virgin Atlantic.

   Chief Philanthropy Officer Mike McCollum, who greeted the runners after they finished, has made increasing the love for donors and volunteers a department objective in 2024. Surely, TPA was one of the organizations he had in mind when he set that goal. 

   To paraphrase the great Luther Vandross, when it comes to United Way Suncoast’s love for TPA, there’s Never Too Much.

   Kudos to the top finishers:

Men

   Hunter O’Brien 17:54

   Joshua Wilson 18:32

   Edward Fitzgerald 18:38

Women

   Caroline Gipe 20:28

   Mindy Siyufy 20:43

   Raina Peterson 21:01

Photo by Lexi Jones
Photo by Lexi Jones

 

Photo by Lexi Jones
Photo by Lexi Jones
Photo by Lexi Jones
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