By Larry Medina
Ka LĀ staff writer
Over 100 HonCC students and faculty will be participating in this year’s Kaiser Permanente Great Aloha Run.
Scheduled for Monday Feb. 15, the run will cover 8 miles from Downtown Honolulu to Aloha Stadium. The students and others will be running as part of the Presidents’ 100 Club,” composed of companies and organizations committed to registering a minimum of 100 participants.
“We just want to get students active and moving,” said Lorri Taniguchi, HonCC’s Health Office nurse and one of the coordinators of the school’s President’s 100 chapter, which began 10 years ago. “What we try to engage (the students and faculty) with and promote from the Health Office perspective is the healthy, community-minded side of living,” she said.
GAR is a charity foot race that takes place annually on Presidents’ Day on O’ahu. Since its start in 1985 by Carol Kai Charities, it has given over $10.9 million to over 150 non-profit organizations.
The event gets its name from the 8-mile route it takes. Starting on Nimitz Highway across from the Aloha Tower in downtown Honolulu, the course runs west along Honolulu Harbor. At the 2.5-mile marker, it goes under the H-1 viaduct across from Honolulu International Airport for another 3 miles (going under the viaduct is beneficial as the overpass provides shade from the morning sun). Once out from the under the viaduct, the route proceeds along Kamehameha Highway and ends inside Aloha Stadium.
“Health and wellness is something we try to integrate,and get out information on hydrating, eating right, preparing (for the race) beforehand,” Taniguchi said. “That’s kind of the thrust to get people who would not have taken that first step to try.”
HonCC’s Club chapter participants will receive a goodie bag at the Kaiser Permanente Great Aloha Run Sports, Health & Fitness Expo, held the day before the race at the Neal Blaisdell Center. They will also have access to the Ho’omaika’i post-race party at the Aloha Stadium. HonCC also holds a post-race GAR picnic on campus for chapter participants.
Guy Shibayama, apprenticehip coordinator at HonCC and co-coordinator of the club chapter, has participated in the race each year since 2006. His typical time (walking, not running) is 2 1/2 hours.
Taniguchi ran it in 2006, but hasn’t run since. “Someone has to be here to help with the (post-race GAR) picnic, so that’s my excuse!” she said. Shibayama also helps with the picnic, securing food and supplies.
“We just try to finish,” Shibayama said. “Just do the walk,” he said.
“And not get hurt,” added Taniguchi.
In the past, faculty and others who didn’t want to participate often sponsored students, paying the $38 registration fee for them.
“We know that there are some students that have (financial) challenges with their education, and are willing to participate but don’t have the funding for it,” Taniguchi said.
“Some staff say they don’t want to do the walk, but they’ll sponsor somebody,” Shibayama said. However, there was no sponsorship this year.
“We didn’t market it,” Taniguchi said. “(Last year), many (sponsored students) did not show up on the day of the race,” she said.
Club chapter participation has varied the past 10 years, with a high of 172 in 2012, and a low of 78 in 2009. There are 113 registered Club participants this year. The Club is open to both current and alumni students and faculty (including adminstrators, instructors, staff) along with friends and family.
Participants of the Presidents’ 100 Club get an exclusively-designed HonCC shirt to wear during the race, and an invitation to a post-race Club GAR picnic back at the HonCC campus. Registration to participate in the club can be done online, or by obtaining an application packet from HonCC’s Health Office. Promotion of the GAR and the Club has been going on since November 2015, through student email, bulletin board postings, and application tables.