Annual Fit Fest inspires health, wellness

HANALEI — The overcast weather didn’t stop hundreds of families and competitors from participating in Saturday’s Ohana Fit Fest at Waioli Beach Park (Pinetrees), presented by Wilcox Health and the Kauai North Shore Community Foundation.

Paul Darin was enjoying a cup of coffee across the street with his family when he saw cars filling the parking lot of the park. Once he heard what all the commotion was about, he and his family left breakfast and took a clipboard to register for the event’s obstacle course.

“We kind of stumbled upon it, the whole family,” he said. “It seems like a great event with a lot of families. Everyone seems pretty happy to run and swim around and be active.”

The obstacle course was the main attraction of the Fourth annual Fit Fest. This year was the first time each competitor was electronically timed, providing an emphasis on competition.

For Jon Barretto of Kapaa, Saturday’s event was simply a good opportunity for him to stay in shape.

“We did the Haena to Hanalei Pier run and we were standing in line for breakfast there and saw the flyer for this,” he said. “We’re planning to do a Spartan Race coming up in a few weeks, so we thought it would be a good way to get ready and participate, warm up and test our agility.”

Mary Patterson, one of the founding board members of the Kauai North Shore Community Foundation, said the obstacle course was divided into three age groups: Keiki and kupuna, teens and adults, and a higher-intensity obstacle course for a team competition with three-person teams.

While Fit Fest was all about bringing families and the community together to have fun, its underlying message of health and wellness speaks volumes.

“Getting people active is the inspiration behind this,” Patterson said. “We lost our health and fitness club out here about 10 years ago and our foundation basically formed around that premise, to open up another club, but we haven’t been able to do that yet.”

So far, Patterson said, the foundation has been busy helping people and organizations that focus on health and wellness, providing $10,000 in grants this year alone. Now, Patterson said it’s time for the group to raise funds for itself.

“Right now we haven’t been able to make that much money and all our sponsorships have been able to cover all the fees and expenses,” she said. “But now, it’s time to make money.”

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