I Won A Free Flight At JFK Runway Run & I’m Not Excited

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 11.21.41 PMBack in January I wrote about registration being open for the 2014 JFK Runway Run.

I had planned to write another post about it as a reminder but it slipped my mind and the race has passed- it was this past Sunday.

Runway runs are probably my favorite kind of races to participate in. They are a unique kind of race and offer access and views  at the airport that are usually not possible.

The JFK Runway Run has become an annual race for me, running in it the past 3 years now!

Checkout my Runway Run Race Recaps:

Entry into the JFK Runway Run includes a very nice race t-shirt as well as entry into a raffle where you could win free airline tickets. (There is also an additional raffle that you can buy tickets into which also offers airline tickets as well as other prizes.)

The 5K: We got to JFK around 8AM and it was definitely a bit chilly out. Once we got moving, I started warming up about 1 mile in. During the first mile the airplane views were incredible. Many planes came in for landings, some seeming to be just over our heads. It felt almost like I coud reach out and touch the bottom of the plane! When runners got to the mid-way point, we got to see an American Airlines plane parked. I would’ve liked to have stopped for photos but didn’t want to mess up my pace.

After not running in over a month, I was pretty happy with the results. Kim and I stuck together during the race, finishing in 32:23, definitely nothing to brag about but still a respectable time. When it comes to running, I feel it’s about finishing, not the end time in itself.

After the Race: In years past, after the race there were bagels and a small goodie bag with items like Clif/ Kind Bars, gel shots, water and more. This year the only thing available after the race were bananas! Considering that I don’t eat bananas, I learned a valuable lesson- eat something before running!

The Raffles: Raffle tickets are sold for $5 each or a book of 5 for $20. Each registered runner also gets entered into a free raffle with the main prize being an airline ticket.

Kim and I each bought a book of 5 raffle tickets. In years past I’d say at least 10 flights (maybe more?) were given away. This year there were only 3- 1 flight as a prize for the free raffle and 2- round trip flights for the paid one. There were also some other prizes (think donated gift baskets from smaller sponsors).

After some of the race winners were announced it was time for the first prize. The prize for the included raffle was 1 roundtrip flight on El Al to Israel from NYC.

While they started to call the winning number, I made a comment about this prize- what do you do with one ticket to Israel? I mean, if you’re single and want to go then this is great but with Kim and Lucas part of the team, I’m not gonna head to Israel by myself.

Then again, what are the odds that I’d win the prize. There were after all, 1,300+ runners here for the 5K.

Picking a winner started to become a bit of a joke. I’d say that 5 numbers were called but after each announcement, nobody came up to claim their prize. Then, all of a sudden I was locked in- I heard the #s 1, 5, 9……3! Wait a second, that’s my #!

I made my way to the front to accept my prize and then posed for some photos. (I was hoping that they would be on the race site by now, but there has been no such luck as of yet.) After getting back to where I was standing, I was congratulated by many people standing close by.

I then had to check out what was inside the small bag. Besides a paper with instructions on how to redeem the ticket, El Al also included a nice luggage tag, an El Al key chain light, small pouch and a booklet with info about the airline.

Once we left, I had a chance to read the full letter and get some more bad news. Not only did I have a problem with winning only one ticket,  ticket is only bookable on limited dates!

I don’t really get it. If an airline is going to do a nice gesture and donate a free flight for a charity, can’t they at least make it where it isn’t a complete pain to book?  Maybe that is the hope. We’ll give away a flight and limit the dates it is bookable in hopes the winner does not actually take the trip!

Based on the dates the ticket can be booked, it is going to be very hard for me to take advantage of my good fortune. This should be really exciting but instead it seems like a pain in the butt!

If I can come up with a date to use the voucher, it is going to cost me at the cheapest, around $700 each to buy a ticket for Kim and Lucas. And these cheaper flights to Israel aren’t even on El Al.

So what do I do? Try to make this work or figure something else out? Is anyone interested in buying a ticket on El Al to Israel? 🙂

6 thoughts on “I Won A Free Flight At JFK Runway Run & I’m Not Excited

  1. donate the ticket to a charity-i run an auction for my children;s school. We could use it and you would get a tax writeoff

  2. Was also at the 5k, wasnt it a jetblue plane, not American?

    While I had ALOT of fun, I was surprised at how bad the organization of the race was. For example, no food/drink at the end of the race at the finish/sign up center.
    And I didnt know you needed to be present for the raffle.

    Oh well.

  3. Alyssa- If we can’t make the ticket work, donating it is always an option but we’d give it to a school/ organization close to home.

    Phill- I’m pretty sure the plane was American but we didn’t stop to really look. Based on the grey paint, I am pretty sure it was AA but now I am curious to see the race photos!

    The race was not as good as in years past but I don’t blame the organizers. They usually have a tent set up with bagels & water. We were told by one of the organizers that the bagel shop didn’t donate this year. Jetblue also didn’t give the tickets they usually donate & promised.

    As for the raffle, the one included with entry you had to be present for. For the paid raffle, you didn’t.

  4. Hi Michael. I was at the JFK race too (bib 1054) and I got a great pic of the plane at the halfway point. It’s shot from straight on but I think it was a JetBlue plane. I’ll send it to you but I can’t find an email address for you on your site. Let me know where to send it if you’re interested.

  5. if they did it right, they would send you a 1099-MISC in which case you’ll have to pay taxes on the ‘income’. So the donation route would work the best and the least hassle…

  6. Julian- What did you think of the race? Thanks for the offer to send the photo! Sounds like I was mistaken & it was a Jetblue plane. My e-mail is michaelwtravels@gmail.com

    Allen- Do you mean if I donate the ticket? At this point we’re hoping to figure out a way to make use of it and go to Israel.

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