KOLOA — Nic Clark’s strategy for the Old Koloa Sugar Mill half marathon on Saturday was pretty simple: Start strong, finish strong.
“I usually go out fast and see who stays with me,” the Kalaheo man said.
Derrick Ledesman and Rentao Desouza tried, but couldn’t quite hold on, as Clark covered the rolling, 13.1-mile course in 1 hour, 23 minutes and 25 seconds to claim the win.
He ran alone most of the way, as he took on rolling hills, muddy roads and strong headwinds.
Clark also won the Old Koloa Sugar Mill 10-miler the previous years before it was changed to the half this year.
“It was a good day,” he said. “I could have prepared a little more for a half marathon.”
The 11th annual event that began and ended at Anne Knudsen Park attracted a crowd on a cool, cloudy morning. There were about 250 runners in the 5K, 150 in the 10K and close to 100 for the half.
Despite rains and wind, runners were feeling festive afterward, with many wearing their race T-shirts as they enjoyed breakfast and cheered for those who received age group awards.
Mary Castelanelli, who recently completed the Ironman championship in Kona, topped the women’s half marathon field in 1:29:12. It was just her fourth time running since the 140.6 mile race, but she looked comfortable as the ran with Basil Scott of Kapaa.
“We just paced each other,” she said.
The new half course, she said, was challenging because the hills came in the closing miles.
“They sneak up on you,” she said. “I was hurting, but it felt OK. I like that challenge at the end.”
Scott, who is running the Xterra World Championships in two weeks, wanted a solid, but not an all-out effort. Their goal was to break 1:30.
“If you want to run 1:30, you want to plan for a 1:29,” he said.
Poipu Road just past the Grand Hyatt was a challenge because the rain turned some of it into a muddy mess with plenty of puddles, making footing a bit slick at time as runners weaved their way through it.
“That dirt road section was like, ‘woo baby,’” he said.
Jacob Pembrook of Kalaheo won the 5K in 19:04.
He said there were some young, fast runners in the race, so he pushed an early, hard pace. Michael Miller of Lihue gave chase, finishing in 19:31.
The course, Pembrook said, was deceptive because while it seemed flat, there were gradual, rolling hills throughout.
“I was pretty tired at the end. I kept looking back making sure he wasn’t going to catch me,” Pembrook said.
Chelsea Smith-Wishard of Eleele won the women’s 10K in 40:57, followed by Lee Ann Apao of Lihue in 46:27.
Smith-Wishard didn’t start out thinking she would win, but as the race went on, she felt strong, which she said was a good thing in the later stages.
“On the way back, the uphills are tough,” she said.
Not everyone came to race.
Friends Denise Jones of Puhi and Courtney Boudin of Kapaa walked the 10K in an hour and 34 minutes.
“It was nice, a great day,” Boudin said, adding “I’m not in it to win it.”
Jones said it was her first time in the Old Koloa Sugar Mill race, and she enjoyed it.
“I don’t really do a lot of running, so it went well,” she said.
Desouza of Puhi finished third in the half in 1:25:12. He considered it a training run for next month’s Honolulu Marathon.
He liked the cool conditions, though he could have gone without the mud.
“What can I say? It’s fun. Friends and family cheering you on, it’s a great event,” he said.
Ledesma, who finished in 1:24:48, liked running on what he considers his home course.
“I live right here, so I run this all the time in practice,” he said. “I did pretty much what I was expecting, maybe a little bit slower. Coming back was tough. The wind, you could feel it slowing you down.”
The event is a fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Kauai. Proceeds go toward local scholarships for Kauai Community College programs and the Rotary Youth Leadership Award.
Saturday, Nov. 9
1. Jacob Pembrook, Lawai, 19:04
2. Michael Miller, Lihue, 19:31
3. Peter Trussas, San Francisco, 21:13
4. Bob Banks, Koloa, 21:15
5. Kaela Wold, Koloa, 21:44
6. Jason Brown, Kalaheo, 22:06
7. Schuyler Cox, Koloa, 22:29
8. Vincent Janigo, Bellingham, Wash., 22:54
9. Smilie Punzal, Koloa, 22:56
10. Barbie Anderson, Kalaheo, 23:09
1. Alan Reynolds, Sausalito, Calif., 37:11
2. Andrew Pape-Salmon, Victoria, Canada, 37:55
3. Scott Mccray, Kailua,39:25
4. Denis Ryan, North Vancouver, 40:08
5. Chelsea Smith-Wishard, Lawai, 40:57
6. Brandon Jacinto, Lihue, 41:37
7. David Murray, Kalaheo, 45:38
8. Lee Ann Apao, Lihue, 46:27
9. Gary Woods, Lihue, 47:47
10. Tony Honorato, Lihue, 48:27
1. Nic Clark, Kalaheo, 1:23:25
2. Derrick Ledesma, Koloa, 1:24:48
3. Renato Desouza, Lihue, 1:25:12
4. Mary Castelanelli, Kilauea, 1:29:12
5. Basil Scott, Kapaa, 1:29:14
6. Joseph I Kali, Koloa, 1:34:15
7. Brooke Sugahara, Kapaa, 1:35:41
8. Bill Buley, Lihue, 1:35:43
9. Jackie Reding, Kapaa, 1:37:05
10. Todd Hadley, Kalaheo, 1:39:18