KOLOA — On Saturday morning, Brooke Sugahara completed the 1,000 meter race in the Hanalei Bay Swim Challenge. Since she’s relatively new to swimming, she was a little uneasy beforehand, and was pleased to overcome a panic attack in the water and finish in the back of the pack.
Sunday morning, she lined up for the Koloa Plantation Days Family Fun Run.
Her game plan was a little different.
“I’m a lot more comfortable in my running shoes,” Sugahara said.
The owner of a fitness studio in Kilauea won the women’s division of the 10-mile race, finishing in 1 hour, 13 minutes and 18 seconds on a hot, humid day with some strong winds.
“I was thinking I was just going to go for a good fun run, and that’s exactly what I did,” Sugahara said.
The skies cleared in time for the start of the 10-mile run and walk, as well as the 10K, 5K and keiki run. There were a total of 312 runners and walkers in the races that started and ended near Poipu Beach Park and were a fundraiser for the Kukuiula Outrigger Canoe Club.
Pierce Murphy, who recently wrapped up a stellar college running career at the University of Colorado where he was an eight-time All-American, put it in cruise control after a quick start to easily win the 10 miler in 54:25. It was his first race on Kauai in two years — which happened to be the 2014 Koloa Plantation Days 10 miler, which he also won.
“Overall, it felt pretty good,” said Murphy, who is staying with family in Kilauea. “I wasn’t trying to go too hard.”
“It’s nice to see people that I know, good to chat,” he said.
Murphy took a few weeks off from running after his fourth-place finish in the 10,000 meters at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in early June. He’s resumed training.
“Hopefully, once I get up to full mileage and get some good training I’ll do some faster races on the Mainland,” he said.
Jonathan Hollister of Santa Cruz, California, won the 10K in 37:21.
“It’s a little different, running in the humidity,” he said. “Feels like it’s a downhill course on the way out and uphill against the wind on the way back.”
But he held on to win his first road race on Kauai.
“Feels great to win, feels great to be here, and now I’m going to celebrate,” Hollister said.
Meike Kuester won the women’s division of the 10K in 40:19.
“I’m not used to running in this heat,” said Kuester, who is with the military in Missouri.
Winning is always nice, she said.
“I loved it. I’m on a vacation, so it couldn’t be any better,” Kuester said.
Kane Casillas, 14, of Kalaheo, won the 5K in 19:47, followed closely by another local runner, James Pratt, in 19:56.
“When we got to the halfway point, James was on my tail,” he said. “It was a really close race. I enjoyed that a lot.”
Casillas, who will be a sophomore at Kauai High this year, ran cross country last year and qualified for states.
“I had a good year. Now, I’m going for a win,” he said.
Hillary Zator of California arrived on Kauai Saturday night and was out for an easy three-mile run Sunday morning when she saw the set-up for the race. She asked what was going on and was told about the Koloa Plantation Days fun runs.
“The lady is like, ‘You have three minutes if you want to do this,’” Zator said.
Despite recent surgery on her left ankle, and a stress fracture of that same ankle four weeks ago, she won the women’s 5K in 20:44.
“I felt great. I had that runner’s high,” said Zator, who works for adidas. “It was so fun. I have to just say, every single person that was working this event made my experience even better. Their energy just made me more excited. It was awesome.”
Tori Daligcon, a Kapaa High graduate headed to college on a volleyball scholarship, completed the 5K, her first race, in 31:16.
She’s been training with Jacob “Smilie” Punzal, owner of Au’rai Fitness in Lihue.
“Two weeks ago, he said, ‘I signed you up for the 5K and I paid for it, so you can’t back out,’” Daligcon said, smiling.
Never crossed her mind.
“It was really good,” she said afterwards while relaxing at Poipu Beach Park with friends. “It felt like a good way to end my whole month of working out and getting ready for college.”