In its 11th year, the Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon is bigger and better than ever.
From the expo on Friday and Saturday at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa to the Keiki Run on Saturday to the races today — both start and end in Poipu — this world-class event is a credit to the organizers and blessing to the island.
You can start with cold, hard numbers. Economic impact of more than $25 million, and that figure is likely higher. Contributions to nonprofits of more than $100,000, and that figure is higher. Scholarships for graduating high school seniors to the tune of more than $5,000.
Each of those is significant, and marathon founders and owners Jeff and Liz Sacchini can take pride in knowing this race is contributing to the well-being of Kauai, which is what they hoped when they started it.
But let’s go beyond the numbers.
Really, where this race has made its biggest impact, where it really has influenced Kauai for the better, is the spirit. The aloha. The joy. The love.
Anyone who has ever participated in either the full or the half marathon knows what we’re talking about. Anyone who has volunteered gets it. Anyone who has come out to cheer understands. We’re all in this together.
Sometimes the intangibles are hard to pinpoint. They are not as easy to explain. The good will of the Kauai Marathon can’t be overstated. The success of this event, its continued growth from a few hundred to more than 2,000, speaks volumes, as they say.
In these times of political turmoil and the insults and anger and finger-pointing that goes on, it’s nice when we have something as simple as running, two feet, one after the after, going from a starting line to a finish line. And everyone has a united goal. We are not going our own direction, chasing our own goals. We are one.
And it’s not so much about how fast we run, though that is important to some. It’s more about encouraging each other, lifting each other up, rooting for that person running next to you. It’s about sharing the adventure and inviting others along.
It’s not like all that disappears when the race is over until next year. It sticks with us. It gives us confidence at work and at home. It makes us look forward to the days ahead. We’re excited about life and about sharing that life with family and friends.
You won’t find crabby people in the Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon. They simply don’t exist.
Many who have run this race, who have organized it, watched it, volunteered for it, do it because they enjoy it. They do this because it makes them feel better. When we feel better and stronger, we generally treat others with more aloha, more respect, and, yes, bigger smiles.
Being positive is the rule. Negative is out.
Mahalo to Jeff and Liz Sacchini for their vision to start this race. In case you’re wondering, no, they don’t do it for the money. Frankly, for all the time and effort that goes into it, they probably could focus their attention elsewhere if money was their goal. But it’s not.
This is about passion and believing in something that is good. That’s pretty simple.
So keep running.
Enjoy the journey.
And, most important, help others reach that finish line.