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Lavaman: Sunset run ignites busy weekend of events

Updated: 
March 28, 2015 - 7:44am

WAIKOLOA — As the sun started its decent on the horizon, the grounds around the Queens’ Marketplace were bustling with action as more than 200 participants gathered for the Lavaman Sunset 5K run on Friday.

Youth dominated at the event, with the top three finishers all coming from the 10-19 age group. Jakob Dewald of Mililani took top overall honors with a course-record time of 17 minutes and 13 seconds.

Colorado’s Blake Mino (18:18) and Oregon’s Piper McDonald (19:00) — also the first overall female — rounded out the top finisher podium.

The event — presented by Bike Works Beach &Sport — served as a fundraiser for the PATH (Peoples Advocacy for Trails Hawaii) Bike Safety Education Program and the ALS Therapy Development Institute, with 100 percent of the entry fees being split equally between the two.

“This event is a way for people to connect and it encourages an active, healthy lifestyle,” PATH executive director Tina Clothier said. “It is also a nice kickoff to the Lavaman weekend.”

The bike safety classes are just one of the many duties PATH provides for the community. The group’s large scale projects range from the planned Queens’ Lei shared-use pathway — a 16.75-mile circulation loop which will safely connect all of North Kona — to helping implement the State of Hawaii’s largest Safe Routes to School program with 16 schools on the Big Island, resulting in more children walking to and from school and getting active.

Friday’s race is one of three major race productions by PATH during the year. The other two are the Run for Hops, held earlier this month in conjunction with the Kona Brewers Festival, and the PATH Run held the Sunday before Ironman.

“Our mission is to safely connect people and places on Hawaii Island with pathways and bikeways,” Clothier said. “Everything we do is about that.”

The donation to the ALS Therapy Development Institute was in memory of a former Bike Works employee Karen O’Riordan Kelly, who passed in 2013 of ALS.

Grant Miller —co-owner of Bike Works with his wife Janet Higa-Miller — has dedicated a year to raise funds for the ALS Therapy Development Institute in memory of his former employee and friend.

Miller raced in Ironman last year in memory of Kelly, raising funds while also beating his time on the 20th anniversary of the only other time he finished the race.

“He raced in her honor,” Higa-Miller said. “He accomplished two of his goals — raising money and finishing faster.”

The Cinco de Mayo Splash — the first race of the open water swimming Triple Crown Series — will also serve as a fundraiser for ALS.

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