KAPAA — Moki is paralyzed in his back legs, but with the aid of a special harness, the 15-year-old dachshund was able to join the nearly 1,300 participants at the sixth annual Mayor-a-thon Saturday at the Kapaa Beach Park.
“You just send the company the dog’s measurements and they do the rest,” said Dave Jordan, Moki’s owner who had his hands full with two dogs at the event celebrating fitness and Ke Ala Hele Makalae, the multi-use path by the ocean.
Thanks to the set up, Moki made the run, relishing the shade toward the back of the park after it was done.
Bev Brody of Get Fit Kauai was ecstatic with the turnout.
“This is the first time in six years we have broken the 1,000 mark,” Brody said of the turnout. “We have 100 out-of-state people registered, and Jackie Teves of Kapaa is the No. 1,000 participant from Kauai.”
Under sunny skies, the 8 a.m. event featured a warmup of stretches and jumps led by Brody, and an inspirational message from Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr., before young and old were released to run, bike or walk as far or as little as they wanted to go. It was followed by a free breakfast and more activities designed to promote a healthy lifestyle. The first 600 participants who registered also received a bright yellow T-shirt.
For some, it was a serious race to the end of the path just past Donkey Beach. For others, it was a family affair of biking or walking with friends.
Brody said the idea of the Mayor-a-thon, a collaborative effort between Get Fit Kauai, the County of Kauai, and the Department of Health, is to celebrate the built-in environment on Kauai to support safe and active lifestyles.
It was first held six years ago to celebrate the opening of Phase II of Ke Ala Hele Makalae.
“I thought this was going to be a one-shot deal to celebrate Phase II,” Brody said. “But when I heard the mayor say ‘first annual,’ I knew we were going to do it, again. We’ve been doing it ever since.”
The Department of Health is involved with the ongoing Tropic Care Kauai operation and pulled in the Tropic Care Kauai Challenge between the different branches of the military who are providing free medical service to Kauai people through June 26. About 25 military members raced four miles for bragging rights.
“The idea of the challenge is not just the first one across the line,” said U.S. Army Col. Susan Fitzgerald, Tropic Care Kauai leader. “We are looking for the first three to cross the line following a two-mile out, two-mile back, as the winner of the challenge.”
Air Force Master Sgt. Robert Stalter of Pittsburg, Pa., was the first Tropic Care challenger back home, crossing the line even before the final walkers had started. He was followed by U.S. Navy Lt. Heather Sterk of Brooklyn, N.Y., in the runner-up spot. But the United States Marine Corps picked up the win when Lance Cpl. Eddie Garcia, PFC Marquel Dock, and Lance Cpl. Raymond Santiago, all of Orlando, Fla., were the first three to cross the line.