By Braddah Lance
No, I'm not making pirate noises but I'm talking about the Great Aloha Run... or Jog... or Walk... or Crawl - an 8.15 mile race from Aloha Tower to Aloha Stadium.
Where else would you be surrounded by nearly 30,000 young, old, fit, athletic, overweight, weekend warrior types with one goal in mind: crossing the finish line.... without passing out.
Never mind that it's a charitable organization that gives more than $400,000 to the community annually and provides volunteer and community service opportunities. Never mind that in the past twenty-seven years the Great Aloha Run has raised over $9.1 million for 150+ non-profit health, human service organizations and community groups throughout Hawaii.
It's all about the pain.
I've run the GAR four times since 2000 but since working at The Advertiser, I was unable to participate because it wasn't an observed holiday. Now that I have the holiday back, it was something I thought I'd try again.
Da Wife was relunctant at first till the last day of the early bird entry but she decided to try it out since she's never done it before. I gave her the lowdown about what to expect: casualties, man-e-faces and false cracks.
Casualties. There would be many but I didn't expect to see one within the first two hundred yards. There was a high schoolish looking girl slumped over her knees crying and obvious she wasn't going to be able to continue the race. It looked like a sprained ankle but I'm just guessing. There are always a few along the way as well and I saw two people hurling on the side and another looking like they needed oxygen pronto.
Man-e-faces. It starts the moment you wake up. There's the voice in your head is asking why the heck are you up so early on a holiday? Then in darkness, battling rush hour traffic but at 5 in the morning, finding parking, boarding a bus to shuttle you to the start line, battling the morning chill, waiting forever for the race to start, stretching in solitude, listening to the national anthem, the Sounds of Freedom groups cadence, cheering, hollering and the race hasn't even started yet. The roller coaster ride has only just begun as those who started off with gusto and a smile end up looking like.... well, let's just say it ain't pretty.
False Cracks. There are three major false cracks. The first is right at the start of the race when you hear the gun. You typically associate the sound of the gun as the start of the race but unless you're an elite runner at the head of the pack, you typically won't even be able to start going give or take anywhere from 10-30 minutes later. We "officially" started 22 minutes later. The second false crack comes at the Nimitz overpass. You've driven or ridden the overpass or underpass before and what feels like thirty seconds to get from the beginning to end is pretty quick buuuut when you're walking or running it, it literally feels endless. The last false crack - which is probably the worst - is entering the stadium grounds and "thinking" you just about finished and find out that you still have to go half way around the stadium, down the long tunnel and once you cross the finish line you still have to go literally around the same half just to get outside, then walk up a steep grade hill to pick your refreshments and shirt. And the kicker? If you parked far, you still gotta get to your car! I swear we walked another two miles AFTER the finish line.
Hea's some pics from the 2012 Great Aloha Run/Jog/Walk/Crawl and for a few others, click hea:
GAR 2012 Pics.
Since we met up with my friend and his ohana, we were at da end of da pack. It may not seem crowded but once the gun sounded, we were shoulder to shoulder inching our way to the official start line.
Click the picture for a quick look as some of the Sounds of Freedom groups get started.
I tink we were numbah 29,177 in line waiting to start.....
Da starting monument.
We found out moments latah why a couple of solo bikes went wisking by. It was to aid da girl with wat appeared to be a sprained ankle.
Did I mention dat there are many characters dat run da race? Anybody know these guys?
Even with cones and barricades lining the course, people still ignored the safety measures as 18-wheelers roared by a few feet from their elbows. I couldn't believe some parents did that with their strollers and babies in tow - Wassup Wit Dat!
Let da "can't see da light at da end of da tunnel false crack" begin.
Going to da lua is a sure-fire time killah. Minimum 15 minutes added to your race time.
It's been a long while since I've ran da race but I was surprised to see such little rubbish as the road used to be flooded with empty cups. Da Wife made me throw da cup away to a volunteer holding a garbage bag.
There were many ohana supporters along the route and dis is one sign I couldn't pass up.
Do you see something wrong in dis picture?
Da taiko's were so cool listening to as we jogged through - Awesome beat and motivating. There were a few oddah bands that were placed along the route and imho, there could have been more. It's amazing what a little music can do for you.
You know das how WWD! rolls! Plus, I heard it was a secret short cut.
Da first glimpse at da prize.
Wassup Wit Dat! ............. need I say more?
THEY LIE!!!! There was no Michelob Ultra to hydrate with right there! How you going tease a braddah li'dat aftah six miles! Wassup Wit Dat!
Jus' cause I like numbah 7.
Let da pre-false crack begin......
Did I mention characters?
Did I mention characters? Oh, wait. Das Da Wife and I.
We finished at a time of 2 hours and 20 minutes which is pretty good considering we didn't train one bit and would have been a little faster had I not been taking pictures and a pee break. I told Da Wife next time we bettah at least beat my slowest time of 1 hour 45 minutes since wen I did do dat run, it was practically on one leg being I was only 1 1/2 months out of ACL surgery.
So if you've evah thought about doing the Great Aloha Run, I say No Scade 'Em Go Get 'Em. It truly is a great run to do because it's one where you can go at your own pace and actually enjoy the race itself. The scenery is great, the weather is usually always perfect and without even thinking about it, it's actually for a good cause. Everyone and anyone can participate and as the Hawaiian name for this race, “Ke kukini me ke aloha pau‘ole” means "the race with compassionate love", you can also add "hau'oli 'eha"......