KOLOA — Eddie Lyons waved and smiled as he crossed the finish line of Sunday’s Koloa Plantation Days 5k run.
He was happy to still be running — and running well, at that.
“I’m getting older and older, slower and slower, I’m still vertical,” he said.
Lyons is 88 years old. And this man from Arvada, Colorado, plans to keep pushing the pace as long as he can. Last year, he ran 35 5ks and a couple of 10ks back home.
In Sunday’s fun run, he finished in 53 minutes, 41 seconds, good for 151st place. Not bad for the oldest runner in the race who was on island with family.
“A friend of mine just passed away,” Lyons said as he enjoyed the post-race activities. “He told me, ‘Whatever you do, Eddie, don’t sit down, keep on your feet.’ I listened to his advice.”
Lyons was one of more than 300 runners and walkers who completed either a 5k, 10k, mile or a keiki one miler.
It was a warm, humid and sunny morning, with the usual winds. After the running was done, participants enjoyed a breakfast from Keoki’s Paradise and iced coffee by Kauai Coffee while awards were handed out to top finishers.
The event is put on by Kukui’ula Outrigger Canoe Club as a fundraiser.
It went off well, said race director Fran McDonald. Some adults came to run fast, others to enjoy the scenery, and some to get in some exercise.
The spirit of the day seemed to be exemplified when one keiki fell hard as he raced to toward the finish. He quickly leaped up, determination etched on his face, and sprinted after those who passed him while he was down.
“We love seeing the kids have a good time,” McDonald said.
One family of 14 registered together. Another couple, with the wife expecting, finished hand in hand. It’s a mix of locals and visitors, McDonald said.
“Everybody enjoys it,” she said. “That’s why we keep doing it.”
Craig Whichard of El Dorado Hills, California, won the 10 miler in 1:08:27, while the top local finishers were Kawaihoola Curnan of Kalaheo in 1:08:55 and James Lloyd of Koloa in 1:09:14. Jana Cano of Lihue was the top local woman, coming in 13th in 1:19:25.
In the 10k, Janet Snyder of Kilauea was the top local, in 48:40, while Keith Hatcher and Asa Hatcher finished first and second, both timed in 44:12.
The overall 5k winner was Christian Carrington of Kalaheo in 20:38. Olivia Lutkevich of Kalaheo was a top local finisher, taking fourth in 22:48.
Whichard worn number 60, which matched his age. He was pleased to win a race for the first time in nearly a decade.
He took the lead at the seven-mile mark and held off his younger challengers.
“I wasn’t thinking I would be able to win, but I ran a nice steady pace and I managed to move up to second and then first,” he said.
Whichard generally runs four days, 30 miles, a week, cutting back since knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus in 2012. So coming in first again was nice.
“It’s been a long time,” he said. “It felt great.”
Lloyd improved his time by six minutes over last year and was “super happy” about it. He’s been adding more miles and running with Divas and Dudes in hopes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.
He also trains in Koloa, so had a bit of a home field advantage.
“I know the hills,” he said.
Though he was running hard, he took time to cheer for friends on the course.
“I wanted to motivate them, too,” Lloyd said.
Janet Yoo of Lihue finished the 10 miler, her first race since the 2006 Los Angeles Marathon. She crossed the line with a big smile and a time of 1:54:28.
Yoo, an eye surgeon, took a break from running for the past decade as she focused on career and family. She spent six years in Africa doing mission work and has three children, who were sleeping in Sunday morning.
“This is my comeback,” she said. “I feel good just to be moving again.”
It was family affair for the Dimkichs from California. Kimberly, a Special Olympian, finished the 5K with her dad, Mitch, in 1:08:55. Her mom, Sandy, won the 70 and over age division while sister Ashley ran the 10k.
Mitch, who played football for UCLA and was in the 1962 Rose Bowl, praised the Kola Plantation Days run.
“A tremendous event,” he said. “We love Kauai.”
Kimberly, in her second time running here, was proud to finish a step ahead of her dad.
“I felt pretty good,” she said. “I have experience so I know the ins and outs.”
As for Kauai in general, she was beaming.
“It’s beautiful,” she said.