KOLOA — More than 600 runners are expected for the 12th annual Old Koloa Sugar Mill Run set for Nov. 15 at Anne Knudsen Park.
And for those running the half marathon, there’s good news: You won’t be running down the dirt section of Poipu Road past the Grand Hyatt. And none of the runners will have to trek up the old dirt and gravel sugar mill road, either. It’s just good, old pavement they’ll be racing on this year.
The goal is just to give runners the best courses possible for the half, the 10k and the 5k, said Richard Olson, member of the Rotary Club of Kauai, which is the race organizer.
Last year, Poipu Road was a bit of a muddy mess and runners ran about a mile down before turning back, and a few runners grumbled about it. This time, they’ll turn around at the top of the small hill just beyond the Grand Hyatt. No dirt, rocks, ruts and potholes to navigate.
“I think it’s a better route now, get rid of all the dirt and the mud,” Olson said. “I think the runners prefer pavement.”
The distance will be made up by adding a turn onto Hoonani Road.
“They’ll have great views,” he said.
Last year, the 5k was the most popular choice among runners and walkers, followed by the 10K and the half marathon, which was made its debut.
The Rotary Club believes there could be a record turnout, perhaps 700, this year.
A good number come from off-island.
“A lot of people are looking for destination locations,” he said.
The Old Koloa Sugar Mill Run was originally put on by Wilcox Memorial Hospital. The Rotary Club of Kauai took it on about eight years ago as a community activity and fundraiser for its charitable efforts, such as providing local scholarships.
There is a strong contingent of volunteers who man aid stations, direct traffic on the race course and help with set up and tear down.
“It’s been a great event,” Olson said.
There will be music and awards after the races at Anne Knudsen Park.
Registration, which includes a shirt and breakfast, is $35 until Nov. 13 at www.active.com, and $40 on Nov. 14 at Kukui Grove Center. There is no race day registration.