POIPU — It had been about 15 years since Margarette Johannes had entered a race. But Friday night, she learned of something called the Bum Run to raise awareness of colon cancer, coming up the next day.
Saturday afternoon, the Kalaheo woman was at the starting line with about 150 others.
“When I heard the cause last night I thought I’d jump right in,” said Johannes, a semi-professional snowboarder who recently returned from a trip to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming.
She enjoyed the three-mile fun run at Poipu Bay Golf Course on a cloudy, cool day, running easily, smiling and waving even as she was one of the top finishers.
“It was a great time,” Johannes said.
March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month and Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa hosted the fourth annual Bum Run to raise awareness of the second most common form of cancer in the U.S.
The untimed event on a rolling, windy course isn’t about seeing who’s fastest. It’s about aloha and saving lives.
The Bum Run attracted keiki, families and adults. Most just enjoyed the scenic course that offered ocean views, passed by nene and went through a tunnel. Kauai High Key Club students held signs, one reading, “Kick Colon Cancer in the BUM!” and “Keep Calm and Work that BUM.”
Afterward, walkers and runners were treated to prizes, food and a silent auction raised money for the American Cancer Society on Kauai.
The race was started in support of Diann Hartman, the Hyatt’s director of public relations who was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer three and a half years ago.
After a number of her colleagues were diagnosed a few years ago, the entire resort rallied to support the cause to raise awareness, encourage regular screenings and know your family history.
“We’re really a big family,” she said.
Saturday, Hartman was feeling great and was delighted to see a big Bum Run crowd.
“It just touches my heart,” she said. “I just try not to cry. You get emotional each time.”
Hartman encourages people to know their family history and get cancer screenings early and regularly.
“Because it’s beatable if you catch it early enough,” she said.
Judy Emmett beat breast cancer that she was diagnosed with in 2004. Last year, though, shortly after the Kauai Half Marathon, she was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer, which came as a big surprise.
Still, she was ready for the Bum Run Saturday and feeling confident about her health
“I like the purpose, getting together and seeing friends,” she said.
Harrison McMillen was Bum Run’s first finisher. The Riverside, California, man is staying at the Grand Hyatt and heard about the race.
“I love to run,” he said. “So I thought I’d join in and give to a good cause.”
Taking the top spot was just an added bonus.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I’m glad to be able to help out.”
Alvin Uchida of Lihue was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010. Surgery, he said, got it and today, he’s also feeling fine and walks daily with his white labradoodle, Kuma.
He and his wife, Susan, have participated in three of the four Bum Runs to support the fight against cancer.
“It’s never ending,” he said. “Hopefully, we can put an end to it.”