Why would someone willingly rise and shine at 5:00 am on a Sunday morning? To volunteer at Kauai Heritage Properties Finish Line Aid Station for the 2010 Kauai Marathon and the awe inspiring Kauai sunrise. This year’s slogan was “Come for the Race. Stay for the Paradise”. Kauai is quickly drawing National attention for this relatively new annual event with articles such as last month’s featured “Race of The Month” in the August/September ’10 edition of Runner’s World magazine. The locals are supporting this amazing race across some of the most beautiful sites on the island in Sunny Poipu, breath taking mountains to the North and white-sand beaches to South by offering top quality accommodations for the participants and their families. It is no wonder this is becoming a “must do” on the marathon runners’ racing circuit.
Being at the starting line to send off not only the 1,900 plus runners but personal friends was a thrill. Listening to the sounds of the conch shell blowers and experiencing a traditional Hawaiian blessing was the perfect setting to begin the race. As the first runners approached, we all cheered them on with pompoms, signs and plenty of water and electrolyte drinks. The first half marathon runners approached at around the hour fifteen minute mark. As they approached a gorgeous rainbow appeared behind them making for a beautiful back drop. As the first full marathon runner glided by we were all in awe as he looked like a gazelle – “true athletes”. The group of runners ranged from the young 15 years of age to more seasoned 80 years of age, from the most athletically fit 26 mile marathoners all the way to the mayor of Kauai, Mayor Bernard Carvalho. Even after running 12 or 25 miles, these physically fit super humans thanked us for being there and our support. Even one of our very own, Lee Hestad is now inspired to begin training for next year’s half marathon.
As locals say, the whole event was “chicken skin”. It is an amazing feeling to be part of an event that is so far reaching and touches so many. Seeing the participants achieving their goals, knowing so many were in it to raise money for charity (over $100,000 to local and national charities), wearing shirts signed with words of encouragement and or “in memory of” brought the cheerleader out in all of us. I was proud to represent Kauai, watching the runners reaction to the countless rainbows and extraordinary views all along the way. Being part of the network of hundreds of volunteers and local businesses stepping up to support an event that brings so much to the island is very rewarding and exhausting! The runners were so appreciative and the string of volunteers so enthusiastic, the whole experience was “chicken skin”. Mark your calendar, the third annual Kauai Marathon will be September 4, 2011. Whether you come to run, walk or support others, it’ll be an event to remember.