ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR)– For the first time, the runway at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport had actual runners on it! That’s because the airport held a 5K race to honor the life of an employee’s wife, drawing a total of 525 runners.

“We are here in memory of Julie Jeavons, the late wife of our finance director, David Jeavons. Julie loved to run,” said Mike Stewart, executive director of the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.

Julie Jeavons passed away after battling cancer in 2021. For her husband, it was only right to create something that would help aid in the battle against cancer.

“We presented a check for $25,000 thanks to the runners and our sponsors,” said Stewart.

That money will benefit the Carilion Cancer Research Center. For the runners, this makes the 5K worth it.

“It felt like forever,” said runner Daniel Kolasa. “I love how much money was raised for cancer research and I found that very important that we do this and events like this.”

Another runner even traveled from Germany to participate in the race with his family.

“It’s extra rewarding. It just adds to the fun, knowing that you’re doing something that’s good, so it makes me feel better,” said runner Paul Khawam.

After the success of the race on Saturday, May 14, the airport says it will take time to honor Julie Jeavons every year.

“We are going to do our best to make this an annual event. We may change the date a little bit and do it on a memorable date for something, but looking forward to trying to do this every year,” said Stewart.