HONOLULU (KHNL) - More than 20,000 runners hit the road for the 25th Great Aloha Run on Monday. It's a race that benefits local charities. One group shares their aloha without actually running in the event.
Four miles from the starting line is what's known to runners as Station One. An army of volunteers prepare for the onslaught, filling thousands of cups with 400 gallons of water. They gather together and pray for the safety of the runners and for their own team.
"They look for this first water station, so we need to be organized, we need to be out there to assist them," said volunteer Antoinette Lee.
It's all fun and games before the first wave of runners come by Station One. The leaders move forward with barely a splash. Then like a stampede, a mass of people run through hot, tired, and thirsty.
"The hardest part is when a bunch of people come out and you almost can't get the water out fast enough because there's so many of them," said volunteer Angelica Harvey.
With places to go and times to beat, the runners might seem in a bit of a rush. But it doesn't mean they don't appreciate the efforts put out by these hundreds of volunteers.
"We are thankful for this great service during this Great Aloha Run," said runner Cesar Ramirez.
"A lot of people said thank you to me and that's nice to see," said Harvey.
As the pace slows down, some of these H20 heroes find their rhythm, and find inspiration in the runners.
"Everybody is yelling its cool; I might run it next year just for the fun of it," said volunteer Paige Kaea.
Within a half an hour, all is calm. Station One is now empty. For these volunteers, it's a job well done in quenching the thirst of thousands of runners as they head for the finish line.
There were about 3,000 volunteers helping out in this year's Great Aloha Run. 300 of them passed out water at 3 different stations.