HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - More than 24,000 runners and walkers participated in the 32nd annual Kaiser Permanente Great Aloha Run on Monday, winding their way from Downtown Honolulu to the Aloha Stadium.
The roughly 8-mile race kicked off at 7 a.m. along Nimitz Highway in front of the Aloha Tower. The course goes along Nimitz Highway, Kamehameha Highway and on to the Aloha Stadium.
Organizers say the run collects more than $400,000 annually, which will go to support 50 local charities.
But many participants also reap a personal reward.
The Morads of Nevada fly back every year for the event.
"This is something that I love doing," said Juanita Morad, whose family used to live in the islands.
Some runners participated in the event to support causes, friends or family members.
Army Sgt. Roman Brown said his unit made t-shirts and ran the event to support one of their own recently hurt by a drunk driver.
"He's gonna be at the finish line when we get back. So hopefully we can cheer him on and hopefully he gets better," Brown said.
This year, race organizers say they dedicated the run to the 12 Marines killed when their helicopters collided off Oahu's North Shore.
The first runners crossed the finish line at Aloha Stadium before 8 a.m. Jacob Alplund, a Hawaii Pacific University student, came in first at 43:38 followed by Jared Burris at 43:42. The first female to cross the finish line was Polina Carlson at 47:00.
Runners compete in divisions including open runners, elite runners, competitive wheelchairs, and military. This year, approximately 6,000 active duty military members ran in cadence and formation in the Sounds of Freedom group run that began at 6:48 a.m.
Over the past 30 years, the Great Aloha Run has raised more than $10 million for more than 150 non-profit health and human service organizations and community groups throughout Hawaii.