True to its reputation, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai hosted another spectacular weekend of first-class events, all to benefit cancer research in Hawaii.
Attendees were treated to savory food tasting from several of the island’s top chefs, golf on Jack Nicklaus’ signature course, a mixed-doubles tennis tournament, and — my personal favorite — a running event within the historic grounds of Kaupulehu.
Sunday’s 17th annual Race for Hope featured a 10K and 5K run/walk attracting many of our island’s swift-footed athletes. Both races started shortly after sunrise, though hot and humid weather conditions prevailed, giving participants an added motivation to get to the finish line.
The course traveled along paved roads and windy pathways that were a bit hilly, yet most participants were easily distracted from such challenges by the beauty of the green fairways, black lava, and azure waters of the Pacific surrounding the one and two-looped courses.
Two-time 10K champion Jason Braswell and Justin Butler of Kailua-Kona shot to the front quickly, separating themselves from the field, with Laupahoehoe’s Alan Ryan not far behind. The duo stayed close together with Butler leading Braswell by a few strides after the first loop where the two races would split — 5K’ers to the finish with a second run loop for 10K.
Butler opted for the 5K course, sprinting for the finish line first in 19:34, while Braswell trudged on to tackle another loop for the 10K. Nipping at Butler’s heels and in second place, was Zafir Abou-Zamzam - a mere six seconds back in 19:40, followed by Ahmed Abou-Zamzam in third at 20:27.
Nicole Vedelli took top honors in the female division with a stellar time of 24:40, with Cary Aurand close behind in second at 24:57, and Susan Griley a few minutes back in 26:24 to round out the women’s top three.
As the 10K continued, a volunteer’s miscue inadvertently sent the runners off course – resulting in some confusion for the field. Defaulting to play “follow the leader”, Braswell relied on the lead cyclist to guide him through a revised and unmarked second portion of the race to claim his third 10K title in 38:39. Ryan closed the gap to finish within 12 seconds at 38:51, followed by Kenneth Stover in 39:54 for the men’s top three respectively.
Sara Bloom finished first in the women’s division and seventh overall with a solid time of 49:55. Susannah Roy crossed the line in second at 50:27, and Tia Higano in third at 51:28.
Meanwhile in Kailua-Kona, the waters were stirring at Kaiakeakua Beach as biathletes readied themselves for Frozen Pea Production’s the Wee and DLT Whirled Pea’s Biathlon, a 3/4-mile swim followed by a fast 3.9-mile run on Alii Drive.
17-year old swimming phenom Leahi Camacho took advantage of perfect ocean conditions to exit the swim first – tagging her father and relay partner, Charlie Camacho. Next in were the trio of Luis De La Torre, Pablo Ureta, and Don Baldassari – all competing for the overall individual title.
Ureta, an accomplished Swiss-Argentinian endurance athlete in town preparing for his ninth Ironman World Triathlon Championship next month, jumped on the run course first with a speedy transition just ahead of De La Torre.
The two kept it close and exciting, until Ureta put forth a full-throttle surge at the turnaround point — creating the separation needed to capture first place with a total time of 42:48. De La Torre kept charging to finish close behind in second at 43:11, followed by Baldassari a few minutes back in 48:13.
Coming in 11th overall and first for the ladies division was Jennifer Stabrylla who bested the women’s field in 54:47. Second place went to Katherine DeBose in 57:32, and Tiffany Pennington at 1:00:38 to round out the women’s podium.
In the shorter Pea Wee event, Duke Becker and Kanaipono Eckart raced hard over the 200-yard swim and 1-Mile run. After the quick splash and dash, it was Becker who persevered in a winning time of 10:44, with Eckart a few strides back at 10:50. Coming in third overall and first for the females was Nophia Pintor in an outstanding time of 13:28.
In the Split Pea division, relay team of Sand People and Lava People finished the long course in a combined time of 47:00, with Wonder Woman and Amanda Schiff topping the Pea Wee Split Peas course in 13:46.
For those who raced the swim-only course, Aimee Kolman powered her way through the 3/4 mile swim in a great time of 19:15. In the Pea Wee swim, Nicholas White had a friendly battle with the Berges brothers, Derek and Brett, to race up the beach first – covering the 200-yard swim in 5 minutes 28 seconds.
Coming up Sunday the Queen Kaahumanu Triathlon Club hosts its third training event of the year, a run-bike-run at Kua Bay. Start time for this free duathlon is 7 a.m., with the run segments along Kua Bay and cycling portion out on Queen Kaahumanu Highway. Individuals and teams are welcome to join in on the fun. For more information email Daniel Hodel at email@example.com.
On Sept. 21the Hawaii Cycling Club will continue its Individual Time Trial series at West Hawaii Veterans Cemetery. Start time is 8 AM for the free event, registration begins at 7 a.m. The course will head north to Waikoloa Beach Road, then south to 86 mile marker for a total of 22.2 miles. Event details are posted at hawaiicyclingclub.com.