More than 20,000 people gathered at dawn this Presidents Day holiday for the 33rd annual Great Aloha Run.
The 8.2 mile race began at 7 a.m. and aired live on Wake Up 2day.
Tom Broderick is a longtime participant. “It’s been 26, 27 years. I think I have missed one or two in that span, but I really look forward to it each and every year. It gets me to make sure I try to exercise at least once a year.”
So what keeps him coming back? “Just the idea of competition. Not that I’m really competing in this race, but just running with other people,” Broderick said. “It’s a good cause and just the same goal of starting out downtown and making your way down to Aloha Stadium, and seeing the camaraderie and the community working together for a good cause.”
The first-place winner was Sergio Reyes from Palmdale, Calif., who finished in 41 minutes, 20 seconds.
“This race has a very special place in my heart,” he said. “Seven years ago, I ran it for the first time, and during the awards ceremony, I had the opportunity to propose to my girlfriend, and so it was a really exciting day for me. I will never forget this place.”
The first Hawaii resident to finish was Reid Hunter from Lahaina, who came in at 43 minutes, 7 seconds.
The first woman to finish was also a Hawaii resident. Polina Carlson of Kailua came in at 46 minutes, 58 seconds.
“It’s not easy every year, but I’m so grateful to be here and to be healthy to do this race every year,” said Carlson. “It takes a lot of training, a lot of miles, so I do a lot of workouts to make sure I’m fit and healthy to do this race.”
The race from Aloha Tower to Aloha Stadium serves as a fundraiser for Carole Kai Charities.
To date, it has raised more than $11 million, which benefits more than 150 local non-profit organizations including “Meals on Wheels, and we do free computer classes for senior citizens for four months every year. The list goes on and on, and we also give to Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island too,” said co-founder and president Carole Kai Onouye.