A new year, a new race.
And John Teschner believes this one is something special.
“It’s a beautiful course right here in Lihue,” he said.
In the heart, even.
The Resolution Run Kauai hosted by Pu‘uwai Canoe Club is set for 8 a.m. Saturday. It’s on the former Mokihana Golf Course, where Hokuala – a Timbers Resort development has opened up about five miles worth of paths.
The race starts and ends at the end of a cul de sac not far from the Ocean Course at Hokuala clubhouse. From there, it follows the golf cart path in the recently spruced up area of palm trees, grass and lagoons.
The 5K race is being billed as “an opportunity to experience trails and scenic views you never knew existed in your own backyard.”
There are some small ups and downs and lots of turns throughout the course that make it challenging.
The first 150 registrants will receive T-shirts. Keiki under 12 are free with an adult. Dogs on leashes are welcome. There will be refreshments afterward.
Proceeds will go toward equipment that supports the club’s adult and youth programs and helps it fulfill its mission of encouraging athletic endeavors based on Hawaiian traditions of aloha, Ho’ihi (respect), and Ikaika Kakauha (athletic strength).
The Pu‘uwai Canoe Club has put on many fundraisers over the years. Most recently, its members handled parking duties at the county fair. But that proved to be difficult to get enough canoe club members there each of the fair’s four days, so Teschner and Rocco April began considering other options.
A fun run sounded like a winner. And when they connected with Hokuala – a Timbers Resort development, a race course came together on a relatively new scenic walking course that is still little used.
There are three basic loops on the old golf course and the race will incorporate segments of all three. Aloh‘i Trail is 2.7 miles. Leiu‘i Trail is 1.6 miles. Huna Trial is 0.6 miles. They were described by TGI in a previous article as “a combination of existing roads, cart paths and trail connections the team at Hokuala created.”
The course and trails are part of the 450-acre spot, behind the Kauai Marriott Resort, Timbers purchased for $60 million in January 2015, according to a previous TGI article.
Once construction is complete by 2020, Hokuala will include a hotel, single-family homes, condos, a restaurant and a golf course.
The trails will connect to Hokuala’s oceanfront development site — Timbers Kauai Ocean Club &Residences.
The trails are open to all and designed to encourage exercise — walking, running, biking, and walking dogs.
January was deemed a good month for the new race, as Kauai’s last official fun run was the Old Koloa Sugar Mill Run in November, and the next one isn’t until the Captain Cook Caper Run in Waimea in late February.
So, there was a lull in the world of foot races on this island, and lots of runners wishing to start their new year with a race.
“We thought, ‘Let’s do it,’” Teschner said.
They marked and measured the course using Google Maps, riding it by bike and running it, too.
A 10K course was considered, but it involved running to Ninini Point Lighthouse and back up that dirt road, as well as some other twists and turns to get 6.2 miles. Because it would have involved more volunteers, more work and more course monitors, a 5K race was settled on.
Teschner moved to Kauai three years ago from Minnesota, where he was a paddler. On his birthday, his wife presented him with a paddle and urged him to join a canoe club.
Teschner walked to the Wailua River, where he met Pu‘uwai Canoe Club president Brian Curll
‘He said, ‘You just show up and we paddle.’”
“I got in the canoe and didn’t know anything and just stuck with it,” he said. “It’s been my real exposure to a lot of Hawaii and Hawaiian culture.”
The impact of padding, he said, has changed his life.
“For me, it’s more than the actual paddling and the exercise. It’s the sense of community that I’ve gotten through the club,” he said. “The camaraderie.”
The Pu‘uwai Canoe Club has about 50 members. A major emphasis is its youth program.
“We really strive to make sure it’s affordable for families,” Teschner said.
Pu‘uwai outrigger canoe club was founded in 1992 and is located at the mouth of the Wailua River. It teaches paddling skills, perpetuate the cultural significance of canoe paddling, and preserve the traditions of the past.
Its adult program offers a novice program that welcomes first-time paddlers. Its summer “Na Opio” program offers over 130 youth daily practices and weekly regattas. It supports a “Pink Paddlers” program in which it helps cancer survivors train for an interisland race.
Each year, club volunteers donate thousands of hours to coaching and mentoring paddlers.
Its largest financial challenge is to maintain, repair, and replace aging or damaged equipment. Canoes cost $10-20,000 or more and the club hasn’t purchased one in years. Paddles for youth and novice adults, canvases, and outriggers add up to thousands more.
Funds would help take care of those needs.
“This race will hopefully allow us to do that,” he said.
Registration is $30 at resolutionrunkauai.com or sign up on race day at the starting area, 6 to 7 a.m.
Packet pickup is 3 to 6 p.m. Friday at the racing area. The best way to get there is to enter the Marriott off Rice Street, follow the road for about a half mile. Just before the second bridge, go left, and then an immediate left again. Follow it to the end.