Marathon mission accomplished

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Robin Jumper with the Kauai Marathon presents Rob Mora with a medal for finishing his marathon on Sunday.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Rob Mora with wife Kayla and son Zion after finishing his own marathon on Kauai Sunday.

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Rob Mora takes a selfie, joined by his support crew, from left, Jamie Cornell, Mallory Zalopany, Kane Zalopany and Alakai, Joe Cornell, Stephanie Kaiko Kong and Joel Sampson.

Rob Mora came to Kauai to run 26.2 miles, a full marathon, on Sunday.

For good measure, he went 27 miles.

“I didn’t want to get here and it was like 26 miles, and I had to go back and get the .2,” he said, smiling.

When the man from Ewa Beach on Oahu completed the run in about 5 hours, 44 minutes, he was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of friends and ohana at The Shops at Kukuiula, including his wife, Kayla, and three-month-old son, Zion.

In finishing, Mora reached his goal of running a marathon on each of the main Hawaii Islands in 2019.

“I got it done today,” he said as he relaxed following his quest. “Today was good.”

The 36-year-old ran the REVEL marathon on the Big Island in March. In October, he finished the Maui Marathon. On Dec. 8, he ran the Honolulu Marathon.

But he was missing one on Kauai — for a perfectly good reason.

He was scheduled to run the Kauai Marathon on Sept. 2, but that was a little too close to his wife Kayla’s due date, Sept. 18, for their first child. So, being a good husband and father, he postponed that one.

“We started getting close, and I felt like it was too close for comfort,” he said. “We started getting some notifications that the baby may come early, so I didn’t want to leave for the weekend, obviously, and then he shows up.”

Show up, he did. Zion arrived Sept. 15, a healthy, happy boy with a full head of hair.

So, three months later, with wife, son, and friends providing food, drink and cheers along the way, he set out under dark skies about 5 a.m. Sunday. His nine-mile route, which he ran three times, took him on Poipu Road, the Koloa bypass road, by the Grand Hyatt Resort &Spa, and then back.

Rain soaked him. Sun baked him. Cars passed him.

But Mora held a steady pace as he passed signs that read “Run Now, Beer Later,” “Your legs are hurting because you’re kicking ass-phalt,” and “Rob Mora for president.”

Shortly before 1 p.m., he stopped running. Done.

Robin Jumper with the Kauai Marathon, placed a medal around his neck and presented him with race swag.

The Grand Hyatt treated him to a meal and a pool pass.

Wife and friends praised him.

“I’m so proud of him,” said his wife, Kayla, holding their son. “It’s so inspiring. He was definitely wanting to finish his goal.”

Asked if Zion would be a runner like dad, she smiled.

“Oh yeah, he’s a kicker,” she said.

Friend Joel Sampson said Mora’s goal to run four marathons in a year was “astounding.” He wanted to be there Sunday when he finished the last one.

“When I heard he missed (Kauai) and he was going to come over here and run a marathon on his own, I knew I was going with him. Once it came out he was doing this thing, he had a whole team behind him,” Sampson said.

One of those team members, Stephanie Kaiko Kong, said she thought it was amazing that Mora ran his own marathon.

“He was super determined and he got it done,” she said.

Mora, a general manager with Lyft, wanted to get in better shape and began running about two years ago. He set a goal to finish the 2018 Hapalua – Hawaii’s Half Marathon in Honolulu.

He did it, almost easily, completing the 13.1-mile race with “so much left in the tank.”

“Let’s keep going,” he said.

So he ran the Honolulu Marathon later that year and came away believing he needed to challenge himself to do more. Next, he set his sights on four marathons on four islands in 2019.

To prepare, he ran, lifted weights and practiced hot yoga. Running, he said, doesn’t come easy to him.

“It’s a discipline and that’s helped my life around me,” he said.

Mora covered about 550 miles this year and it left him feeling fitter, faster and stronger.

“It’s been like a form of meditation. I love it. I just fell in love with it,” he said.

Mora isn’t done. He still has more in the tank.

He’s looking to double his mileage to over 1,000 next year, and wants to run an ultramarathon. And he plans to return to Kauai and run the official marathon in September, too.

“I have that same feeling that I felt when I completed that half marathon, there’s a lot more to go,” he said. “I gotta keep the momentum going. I’m feeling pretty good, pretty primed. I don’t want to lose it.”

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