Saturday, Kamika Smith completed the Alaska Airlines Rock ‘n’ 5K in Seattle.
He was just getting started.
Sunday, the Kauai man completed the Alaska Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half Marathon.
Two days, two races.
Welcome to Kamika’s world of running. Another day, another run.
There’s no better way to put it than he loves running. Not racing. Not pushing himself to go as fast as he can. Not trying to set a personal best. You won’t find him vying for first place. He just runs. And runs. And runs some more. He has covered thousands and thousands of miles, worn out scores and scores of shoes. If he is anything, he is strong and sure and steady.
Smith is known around Kauai as the general manager and leader of the Smith Family Garden Luau. He’s the gentleman with the soothing voice who shares the history of Smith’s Tropical Paradise and explains the imu ceremony. He even plays music on stage and greets guests with a pleasant smile.
The 55-year-old is, at heart, a runner.
With the completion of those two Seattle races, Smith reached another of his running goals, completing 100 Rock ‘n’ Roll Series Races. The starting line for this quest goes back to 2001 at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego. And this trip to the Emerald City was special, as Smith attended Seattle University, graduated in 1983 and has many friends there.
Smith is one of those guys who seems perpetually happy. Always smiling. It’s genuine. His big grin as he’s crossing the half marathon finish on Sunday says all you knew to know about how he feels: Joy.
On Facebook, he posted this:
“Thank you to my family at home that has allowed me to take off from work all these years to reach my crazy goals: 50 States Full Marathons completed at the New York City Marathon in 2006 (goal was 50 States by age 50); 100 Full Marathons in Seattle in 2010.; seven continents half marathons in 2015; 100 half marathons in Albuquerque in 2015; 50 States Half Marathons in Iowa City in 2016. Met many people along the way and am appreciative for all the support everyone has provided me. The RNR gypsies have been with me for many of these races. Mahalo for everything you have done to make my experiences memorable. Pineapples are symbols of hospitality. We may have started a trend to pineapple up and make everyone smile as we run across the country. Aloha to my ohana around the world.”
You get the idea. He loves to travel, and he loves to run. So he does what many of us wish we had the courage to do, and lives out his dreams and goes for his goals. Damn right, he’s happy.
His feat did not go unnoticed. The Seattle Times noted it in its coverage of the half marathon. And some of the posts to his Facebook account:
“You are so inspirational my friend!”
“Congrats on a new milestone! What’s next!”
And this one says it best:
“You are right. It’s not about the race, it’s about the people you share the race of life with.”
When so many people asked the fictional movie hero “Forrest Gump” why he was running across the country, this was his answer: “I just felt like running.”
Those words apply to Smith, too.
And his quotes are just as darn good as our friend Mr. Gump’s. Here are some comments by the real Kamika Smith when it comes to his running.
“It’s not my goal to finish fast. I just want to finish.”
“I’m here just to have fun, enjoy myself, see the place if I can.”
“There are other people with like minds crazy enough to do this kind of thing.”
And, in the words that sound a bit like something old Forrest would say, there’s this one:
“I’ll keep running until I can’t do it. Then, I’ll stop.”
A world without Kamika Smith on the run? Say it ain’t so.
Bill Buley is editor-in-chief of The Garden Island. He can be reached at email@example.com