I remember our first GAR back in 1985 so clearly. The eve was stormy and nasty as we all lay shivering in a large tent that was being pelted by the wind and rain in the Lower Halawa parking lot! My girlfriend, Sherry, was lying in the cot next to me saying, “This is one of the worst nights I’ve ever experienced! What a bummer!”
We had thousands of bananas in that wet parking lot and the finishers’ shirts were in serious trouble of being drenched and bleeding into a mess! I asked myself, “What did I get myself into?” Well, I prayed (and so did many others, I believe) and the next morning, Race Day, was beautiful and glorious!
As a gimmick, I had my stylish girlfriend, Karen, walk the entire course in high heels following a pretty girl riding a big stallion! Poor Karen’s high heels were stubs at the finish and her feet were blistered. She didn’t speak to me for months! 11,698 beloved first-timers ran across the finish line in the Lower Halawa parking lot to a band playing, my friend Kevin I singing and Emme Tomimbang emceeing! Eleven charities benefited from $189,000. That was our first year.
It’s been a miraculous ride since that inaugural year. Over the past 29 years, more than $10 million has been distributed to over 150 organizations. The funds have helped to save some valuable local programs from extinction, provided free computer classes to senior citizens, and supported hundreds of walkers and runners who’ve attended the free nine-week GAR In Training workshops.
What a terrific feeling it is for all us who work for the joy of seeing our community being supported by the 4,000 volunteers and our participants who make the Great Aloha Run happen. Thank you, Kaiser Permanente, our Title Sponsor, and the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, our Benefactor, for supporting us all these years. We’re also very grateful to our Kama’aina Sponsors and Company Sponsors for helping us support this island community that we love! This Race is for the People, by the People! Thank you all!
One of our slogans this year is “This is Your Year! If this is your first time, or if you “used to do it" or “can't run anymore,” please join us in celebration of 30 years of giving the Great Aloha Run way. If you can’t run anymore, you can walk it! In other words, please join us in any way you can. This is Your Run. This is Your Year!
Mahalo and Aloha,
Carole Kai Onouye
Happy Volunteer and Supporter for 30 Years
And, I could do nothing without the Lord helping me. "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the Love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions…" 1 John 3:17