Runners post fast times in 14th annual Old Koloa Sugar Mill Run

KOLOA — Brady Edwards tweaked his knee running 26 miles as the member of a team in a 200-mile Ragnar race last month.

Turned out to be not such a bad thing.

Because due to that twinging knee, the Koloa man switched from the half marathon at Saturday’s 14th annual Old Koloa Sugar Mill Run to the shorter 10k.

And he won.

“It feels terrific,” he said shortly after receiving his first-place medal during the awards ceremony.

Edwards has run the Old Koloa Sugar Mill races for the past 10 years, finishing as high as second when there was a 10-miler. Saturday was his first victory as he crossed the finish line in 43:15.

He didn’t expect to win, but came in determined to give it his best shot. Turns out, that was the best for the 10k. And the knee felt OK.

It was a double victory for the Edwards family Saturday, as his wife, Karen, claimed the 10k title in the women’s field in 44:41.

“Conditions were perfect today,” he said. “It was a great race.”

About 400 runners turned out on a warm, sunny morning to compete in either the 10k, the 5k or the half marathon. The race is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Kauai.

Afterward, many milled about at Anne Knudsen Park, enjoying breakfast and sharing stories of their run.

Some of those stories were about running the downhill of Ala Kinoiki on the way out — and the uphill on the return. For the half marathoners, it was a hot, hilly day.

“I started off strong toward the end, and just fell apart when the sun came out and then the hills,” said Chris Halton of Honolulu, who won the half marathon in 1 hour, 31 minutes, 13 seconds. “I have no negative splits today.”

But finishing first was a nice prize, and he found the race well organized with spirited volunteers.

“I appreciate everybody’s efforts,” he said.

Likewise for Barbara Gubbins of New York, the first woman to finish the half marathon, which offered ocean views as the course wound its way through Poipu.

A friend told her it was a “perfectly flat” course. She found it to be otherwise.

“This is actually hillier than Central Park. It’s really hilly,” she said.

Gubbins ran with the leaders most of the way, tailing off slightly toward the end.

“I felt good, but with the heat and the hills, there’s only so much I can do,” the 56-year-old said.

Winning in 1:34:51 was wonderful, she added.

“I was really excited,” Gubbins said.

Nancy Pappas of Lihue won her age division, 40-50, in her first-ever 10k.

Heading out on Ala Kinoiki was nice. When she turned around, she found the uphill going tougher.

“It’s challenging. I like it,” she said.

Todd Hadley of Kahaleo was third overall in the men’s field of the half marathon, finishing in 1:34:25. He felt strong racing on the South Shore roads where he often trains.

“I paced myself, tried not to go out too hot, keep it slow in the beginning,” he said.

Hadley cranked it up on the final stretch.

“That’s tough,” he said. “Those are tough miles.”

In the 5K, Dodger Middlebrook, 15, of Koloa, took first overall, while Ella Beck, 13, of Hanalei, topped the female division.

Beck ran pretty much as hard as she could go — and paid a price for winning in 22:47.

“I thought I was going to get sick,” she said, smiling. “It was very hot.”

Middlebrook held off his challengers with a final sprint to win in 18 minutes, 43 seconds.

“I wasn’t training as much as I did for cross country in high school. If I trained more, I could have done better. But I’m happy with the outcome,” he said.

Hannah Albaugh, 9, of Beaverton, Ore., was the youngest finisher in the half marathon.

“We’ve been training,” she said proudly as she stood with her dad, Brian Albaugh.

“Happy,” she said with a smile when asked how her run went.

Hannah has completed 5ks but wanted to go farther. When the family planned a vacation to Kauai, Brian asked Hannah about taking on a half marathon.

“She got all excited about this and said, ‘OK, let’s do this.’ She did it,” he said.

Father and daughter stayed together, running and walking, before finishing hand in hand to loud cheers.

Hannah never wavered.

“She just kept wanting to pass everyone,” her dad said. “She didn’t want to stop.”

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