A few miles into Monday’s Great Aloha Run on Oahu, Sherlyn Alcon saw Kauai Mayor Bernard Carvalho.
Her race, already going well, got even better.
The Oahu resident said hello to the mayor, who responded with a big wave.
“I couldn’t believe it and I didn’t let my excitement stop me by telling my friends around me, ‘That’s the mayor of Kauai,’” she said.
Alcon told the mayor she was from Kauai and asked if he wouldn’t mind posing with her for a picture. No problem. Carvalho stopped, smiled, flashed a shaka and gave Alcon a big hug. He told Alcon to enjoy the rest of her run and have fun.
She did. The mayor’s warm, friendly greeting inspired her to her best showing in the 31st annual race.
“This definitely made me run faster and finish strong,” she said. “I definitely stepped up my game by last mile.”
Some 20,000 runners and walkers participated in the popular race that started at the Aloha Tower, followed Nimitz Highway and Kamehameha Highway and finished at Aloha Stadium.
Carvalho said it was his first time in the Great Aloha Run, which he finished in about two and a half hours. He said he ran, walked and talked story as he made his way through the course on a beautiful, sunny morning. Carvalho was pleased he was able to inspire Alcon to run well.
“I finished man, I crossed the line,” he said Monday.
He was happy to be there and help start the race with other mayors, and was very impressed by the thousands of service members who participated.
“It was really awesome to see the military presence there,” he said.
The mayor also spoke with youth about health and wellness and encouraged them to be active, and invited runners to sign up for the Kauai Marathon before returning home.
“We want to keep that movement going,” he said.
Alcon said she could feel the sense of togetherness in the Great Aloha Run. The race support, the entertainment and the spirit, made it a wonderful day. The highlight, she said, was seeing the mayor from her home island, exchanging greetings and having her picture taken with him.
She’s already looking forward to the 2016 race.
“See you next year, mayor, for another great run,” she said.