When Ben Kimball’s mom asked him about running in the Old Koloa Sugar Mill 10k, he wasn’t too sure about it.
Then, the 12-year-old decided, why not, maybe he should do it.
Saturday morning, his efforts were rewarded when he covered the 6.2-mile course in 53 minutes and 7 seconds to finish eighth overall and win the 1-13 age division.
Afterward, he was beaming when he received his first-place medal.
“I really wish I would have trained more,” he said. “I didn’t train at all.”
Kimball initially considered just having fun and playing his ukulele as he ran, but opted to take it a little more seriously.
“I thought I should just try to go for the win,” he said.
His plan worked.
It went so well, in fact, he plans to run more, and is setting his sights a little higher: “My goal is to run the Kauai Marathon, the full, next year,” he said.
The 17th annual edition of the Old Koloa Sugar Mill 5k, 10k and Half Marathon attracted just over 400 runners and walkers on a cool, cloudy morning, ideal running conditions.
It’s a fundraiser for the Rotary Club of Kauai, which has raised about $100,000 in the 13 years it has been organizing the fun run. It uses proceeds for Kauai Community College scholarships and youth leadership awards.
Laura Dizon-Vegas of Lawai signed up for the Old Koloa Sugar Mill 10k for the first time. It couldn’t have gone any better, she said, as she finished in 1:14:24.
“It was so much fun. I really enjoyed it,” she said. “I love this weather. I love the rain, I love the overcast skies and the nice trade winds blowing. I love that kind of a race.”
Some of the top local finishers were:
Michelle Thomas, Princeville, who led the women’s field in the 10k in 44:54; Renato DeSouza, Lihue, who was second overall in the half marathon in 1:27:07; Tracy Capman of Kalaheo, second woman finisher in the half marathon in 1:38:43; and Dutch Fairbanks of Lihue, fourth overall in the 10k in 47:22.
Eli Ibbs, 15, of Koloa, won the 5k in 18:12, followed by his Island School cross-country teammate, James Pratt, 17, of Lihue, in 18:50.
The two started and stayed together early on.
“I kind of broke away at the end,” Ibbs said.
Cross country just wrapped up last weekend with the state meet on Maui, so this was more of a relaxed run, they said.
“I felt good at the start, and as usual it starts to get harder toward the end,” Pratt said. “But then as the other people from the 10k started to run the other way and they were all cheering for us, it felt so good.”
The top seven spots in the 5k belonged to Kauai teenagers, with Damon Johnson, third, followed by Bradley Pratt, Jeremy Herr, Ryan Stevens and Spencer Summerhays.
Leigh Drachman Feutz of Kapaa was all smiles as she recounted how she completed the 10k in 1:08:53 while pushing Josh Iloreta, also of Kapaa, in his racing wheelchair.
“Josh beat me by three seconds,” she said proudlly.
Josh’s mom, Emma Iloreta, and sister Holly Iloreta, both completed the 5k. All wore their shirts that had the family slogan, “The only difference between you and I is that you say I can’t and I say I will” on the front and “I am my ability” on the back.
Drachman Feutz also pushed Josh through the Kauai half marathon in September as part of the “My Team Triumph” program. She stayed in contact with the Iloreta family after that and asked Josh if he wanted to be her running partner in the sugar mill run.
He did. They had a wonderful time, and Josh was pleased as he posed for pictures with family and friends.
“It was just enjoyable to be out there celebrating running with Josh,” Drachman Feutz said.
Michelle Winningham of Kapaa won the women’s 40-49 age group in the 10k, finishing in 56:51 as she tuned up for the Honolulu Marathon on Dec. 8.
She was third in her age group last year and set a goal to get second this year.
“But I made first,” she said.
It was a good race.
“I felt awesome,” Winningham said.
Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or email@example.com.