The 13 club

Eliana Pimentel wakes up at 6 a.m.

Her mother, Jeana, is having her morning coffee.

Just before 7 a.m., Jeana wakes up her young son, Maddox, and the three head to Lydgate Park on Tuesday.

As the sun peeks over the water and a salty ocean breeze brushes their faces, Jeana and Eliana run on the sidewalk trail, while Maddox happily rides his bike alongside with them.

To celebrate Eliana’s 13th birthday, the Kapaa mother-daughter duo will run 13 miles on Sunday.

“I just thought it would be cool to try,” said Eliana, who becomes a teenager a week after the race. “When we lived in Massachusetts, we used to run a mile every week, and I liked it.”

They will join about 2,000 runners and walkers in the 8th annual Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday.

Though running is one of her least favorable forms of exercise, Jeana said she has enjoyed every step of the journey with her daughter.

“For me, it was just an opportunity to spend more time with my daughter, who’s becoming a teenager, getting some quality time together, and taking on a challenge together,” said Jeana.

Some days, Maddox tags along.

“It actually gives us a good pop of positive energy when we’re running because he’s just smiling and biking along,” Jeana said.

Eliana came up with the challenge six months ago, and the two have been training three times a week.

Since then, they’ve competed in the 8-mile Haena to Hanalei run and the 10-mile run at this year’s Koloa Plantation Days.

“In the past, neither of us were runners. The beginning was an uphill battle getting those first few miles under our belt and being comfortable,” Jeana said. “Some days it does feel like a battle, but then there’s some days where you’re like, ‘Wow, we’ve come so far.’”

Since the Pimentel children are home-schooled, they have a flexible training schedule, which means more time for other activities.

“We don’t have to wait until evening,” Jeana said. “We can get (our running in) in the morning.”

Because they’re out in nature and aren’t worried about traffic, Jeana and Eliana said they prefer running on trails.

“My favorite is the Kuilau Ridge Trail to Moalepe Trail,” Eliana said. “Sometimes we do the Sleeping Giant, which is hard. It’s all uphill.”

Their longest run to date was 11 miles from Moalepe Trail Hike to their home.

“Lately, in our training runs, I’ve been saying, ‘Enjoy every step, look around you, just breathe,’” Jeana said. “Once you start thinking, ‘I’ve got 10 miles to go,’ it starts to be a little overwhelming.”

Running has strengthened their relationship.

“It brought us closer,” Jeana said. “Anytime you take on something difficult together and you know it’s going to be growing, it’s going to be like normal life. You learn that everyday isn’t going to be perfect, but you need to stay really positive.”

Eliana said she would like to participate in more races after Sunday, and even teased about racing a full marathon in the future.

But for now, the 12-year-old has one goal in mind for the half marathon.

“Looking forward to finishing it,” she said.


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