Haena to Hanalei readies for its 37th year

Five one-mile repeats.

Six half-mile repeats.

20 hill sprints.

Those are some recent workouts I’ve completed. The repeats, with my friend Basil Scott; and the hill sprints, alone.

Why?

Because the 37th annual Haena to Hanalei 8 Mile Run/Walk, 5K Run and One Mile Youth Run sponsored by the Hanalei Canoe Club is closing in. This race from Ke‘e Beach to Black Pot Beach is set for June 3. If there is a must-run race on Kauai, this is it.

Every town, city and island has a benchmark race, one that is considered the one to run — the one that counts for bragging rights. For many, including me, Haena to Hanalei is that race.

I love the Captain Cook Caper Run and the Koloa Plantation Days 10 miler. The Old Koloa Sugar Mill Half Marathon is tough and the Kauai Marathon in September, despite its brutally hilly course, is a favorite.

But Haena to Hanalei has everything a runner wants: a long tradition, great support, tough competition and a fun, festive awards ceremony. At the finish, you’re sure to see plenty of arms raised in triumph. And at eight miles, it doesn’t leave you for dead like the longer races can. There’s also a difficult course that includes some long, steep hill, historic single-lane bridges, a nice downhill stretch and a final, flat straightaway to the finish line when your legs and lungs are burning.

Last year, I set a personal best there with a time of 54 minutes, 5 seconds. Not great, but good. This year, the goal is to break 53, perhaps 52 if I get lose 10 pounds or so and stop eating chips.

Anyone interested in walking or running should register for Haena to Hanalei, which is a fundraiser for a great group, Hanalei Canoe Club. A shuttle from Hanalei delivers you to the starting line. The return run/walk is marked by ocean views, but don’t take too much time to admire them or you’ll miss out on the fun afterward, when there’s breakfast to enjoy while you recount your race, and you get a cool T-shirt, too.

My goal here is to run faster than ever before. My second goal is to beat my friends: Jimmy McDougall and Basil Scott. It’s unlikely, but possible if I commit to training and most important, diet.

Here’s a quick rundown of the basics of this race.

When: Saturday, June 3.

Where: Near the pier in Hanalei. Shuttle to starting line at Ke‘e. 8-mile walkers start at 6 a.m., runners go at 7. 5K runners, and youth run begins and ends near the pier.

How Much: $10 for kids 14 and under in the youth run, $40 for adults pre-registration, $50 on race day. Pancake breakfast is included and a T-shirt for pre-registration.

Awards: First through third male and female overall and first through third in age groups. Awards and breakfast will be at Hanalei Canoe Club near the finish.

Who: Runners and walkers come from as far away as Germany and Australia and age groups include under 6 and over 80! Typically expect over 700 runners and walkers.

How to Register: At www.hanaleicanoeclub.org. Or, pick up a flier in Hanalei at Hanalei Surf Company or Hanalei Liquor; in Princeville at Kauai Fun Activities at Woodland Kiosk; in Kilauea at Kauai Mini Golf or Cross-Fit; in Kapaa at Work It Out, or Kauai Athletic Club; in Lihue at Kauai Athletic Club, Cross-Fit or YMCA; and in Hanapepe at Island Fitness and in Waimea at Da Booze Shop.

Info: 639-4048 or info@hanaleicanoeclub.org

I hope to see you at the starting line. And the finish line, too.

•••

Bill Buley is editor-in-chief of The Garden Island. He can be reached at bbuley@thegardenisland.com

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