Great Aloha Run hits 10-year high - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Great Aloha Run hits 10-year high

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Matt Watanabe Matt Watanabe
Sara Watanabe Sara Watanabe
Melissa Nguyen Melissa Nguyen
Carole Kai Onouye Carole Kai Onouye

By Lisa Kubota - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some people relaxed on this President's Day, but thousands of others woke up early for the 26th annual Great Aloha Run. The huge crowd began lining up and warming up before dawn. There were elite runners mixed in with the non-athletic types.

"Every year I try to beat my time, just to improve myself, every year do it faster and faster," explained participant Matt Watanabe. "Try to beat my dad's fastest time so I try to challenge myself."

"The first year I did it I remember we were cramping and, 'When is this gonna end?' and now it's just like yeah, one mile, two miles, three miles. It just gets easier and easier," said participant Sara Watanabe.

The wheelchair racers took off first. Then active duty military members began running in formation. Finally, the other participants started the 8.15 mile race from Aloha Tower to Aloha Stadium. It took more than 30 minutes for all the entrants to cross the starting line because there were so many people.

"I didn't know running was a contact sport until today. It was pretty crowded at the start," said participant Melissa Nguyen.

Nearly 24,700 people registered for this year's event. Organizers said the number of entries hit a 10-year high.

"In the 90's we had the support of the military. They were huge here but most of them deployed," said race co-founder Carole Kai Onouye. "But now it's starting to come back with the local people."

The Great Aloha Run was established back in 1985. Since then it has raised more than $8 million dollars for more than 150 local charities.

"I think the people of Hawaii get it that this is really their race. It's for the people of Hawaii, by the people, and that all the money stays here," said Onouye.

"It's a time for us to do something together and bond and exercise and get healthy," said Sara Watanabe.

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