HANALEI — If you ask the Hanalei Canoe Club women if they’re competitive, they simply laugh.
They say they can’t hide their competitive side or their love of the sport, which is why they work hard in and out of the water to keep the club going strong.
And a key to providing funds for the club is the 35th annual Haena to Hanalei 8 Mile Run and Walk on June 6, which begins at Kee Beach and finishes near the Hanalei Pier.
“We call it the world’s most beautiful run,” said Mary Mair, canoe club secretary, on the scenic North Shore race that has grown steadily over the years. In 2000, 87 runners took part in the race whereas 730 people walked or ran the oceanfront course last year.
Runners start at 7 a.m. and walkers start at 6 a.m. A free shuttle bus will run from Hanalei Peir up to the starting line starting at 4:45 a.m.
The run, which costs $35 or $45 on race day, includes breakfast and an awards ceremony.
There are awards for the top three finishers in the male and female categories. There’s the 8-mile run and walk, 5k, and youth run.
Julie Wallace, one of Mair’s assistants and fellow paddlers, said the kids race is among the more popular events.
“During the awards they call their names, and their eyes are this big,” she said. “They are just so happy.”
Mair said one of the reasons the number of participants has grown is because of the amount of travelers who plan their vacations around the event.
A well-known runner who attends every year is Los Angeles resident Evette Lavigne, one of the oldest runners of the race at 75 years old.
“Last year we had runners from Germany and Switzerland,” Mair said.
The Haena to Hanalei race is the first of the club’s three major annual fundraisers. The other fundraisers are the Tahiti Fete on the first Saturday of July and the luau and silent auction on the last Saturday of July.
Those who don’t make the May 29 mail-in application deadline can sign up in person at the Haena to Hanalei 8 Mile Run and Walk at 4:45 a.m. on the day of the race at the Hanalei Pier.
The Hanalei Canoe Club is a nonprofit that is a part of the Hanalei Hawaiian Civic Club.
Proceeds from the race go to the club’s programs as well as maintenance of their property where they train and store canoes.