This year’s 11th annual Old Kola Sugar Mill Run will not feature a 10-mile race.
Instead, for the first time, a half marathon, 13.1 miles, will be the featured distance.
And people have noticed.
About 550 runners and walkers are expected for Saturday’s races, up 10 percent from last year.
Dick Olsen, member of the Rotary Club of Kauai which is organizing the race, said they turned to the half marathon to meet the needs of runners interested in “destination” runs.
It just took a change in the course and adding three miles. Viola! A popular race is born.
“There has definitely been an increase in the number of out of state runners,” he said.
The majority, around 300, are from Hawaii. But runners are traveling from other states, including California (21), Colorado and Oregon, (10 each) and Washington, (9). Nineteen are coming from Canada, and three from Australia.
It promises to be a great day of running — and raising money.
The event is a fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Kauai. Proceeds go toward local scholarships for the Kauai Community College nursing program, Kauai Community College technical program, and the Rotary Youth Leadership Award. Last year, Rotarians provided seven $1,000 scholarships to KCC.
Runners will received T-shirts and breakfast and there will be Hawaiian music, too.
Perhaps best of all, the course is relatively flat with no hills.
“This year there will be a professional race announcer at the start/finish line,” Olson wrote. “He will provide music, jokes, and will announce the runners as they finish.”
The annual Old Koloa Sugar Mill Run begins at Anne Knudsen Park. It includes the half marathon, 10K and 5K The half marathon begins at 7 a.m., the 10K 7:15 and the 5K, 7:30 a.m.
Breakfast will be served as the first finishers arrive at about 8 a.m. The winners will be announced about 9:30 a.m. Awards will go to overall male and female finishers and medals to age group winners.
Late registration through Friday is $35. There will be no race day registration. Race packet pickup and late sign up is Friday between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. at the Kukui Grove Shopping Mall exhibit area by Deja Vu & Zales.