HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Five-thousand service members kicked off the 31st annual Great Aloha Run as the "Sounds of Freedom" runners led the way toward the roughly 8-mile finish line at Aloha Stadium.
Then at 7 a.m., the howitzer fired, and more than 20,000 runners and walkers followed.
The sponsored Kaiser Permanente event focuses on health and well-being, where both the young and old are welcome to take part in what's become known as the "people's race." The course began at the Aloha Tower and wound its way down Nimitz Highway, Kamehameha Highway and on to Aloha Stadium.
The first runners crossed the finish line at Aloha Stadium before 8 a.m. Craig Leon of Eugene, Ore. came in first at 40:27, followed by Kailua native Makai Clemons at 43:32. The first woman to finish the race was Erin Vergara of Indianapolis, Ind. She came in with a time of 46:14.
Gov. David Ige even participated in the race and appeared on Sunrise for a
"Carole Kai is the one person who can get the governor and all four mayors to agree on something and it's that the Great Aloha Run is such a great event for our community," he said.
For the fourth year in a row, Hawaii firefighters ran together to help raise money for the Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children's oncology program. Maui firefighter Joshua Dukes and his wife Shauna ran in honor of their 20-month-old son, Trucker, who is suffering from neuroblastoma, an aggressive cancer.
"You know, his counts are on the way down right now, so he's been a little cranky last couple of days, but its been good," Joshua Dukes said. "We've been out of the hospital and he's been running around."
The race included divisions for elites, age groups, military runners, wheelchair and handcycle competitors and those who just wanted to walk the course with friends and socialize along the way in the Back of the Pack.
Honolulu police closed most downtown streets to vehicular traffic just before 4 a.m., including Nuuanu to Punchbowl and from Beretania to Nimitz Highway.