EMS Run/Walk attracts 733 participants
The 9th Annual Emergency Medical Services Run/Walk was held this past Sunday starting near the entrance of Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo.
More than 700 runners, walkers and joggers laced up their shoes to participate in either the 5K (3.1-mile) run or two-mile walk. The event also hosted a non-competitive keiki quarter-mile run on the grass through Liliuokalani Gardens for children age’s three to ten.
The event was the brainchild of Fire Chief Darryl Oliveira to get the Fire Department to annually recognize EMS Week, a time to educate the public’s awareness to what EMS provides on our island.
“The EMS run/walk is a great opportunity to showcase what we have to the community and it is a chance for us to give back to the community,” Chief Oliveira said.
“We are extremely grateful to all the participants who come out and support our event on a busy Memorial Day weekend,” Chief Oliveira said. “And we are grateful to the numerous local businesses who donate to our event.”
In the competitive 3.1-mile run a group of well known community runners led the first pack of runners through the first half-mile of the race. Billy Barnett, Germain Ortiz, Alan Ryan and Johan Dana took off at the gun and quickly separated themselves from the rest of the harriers.
At one mile the race became a two man effort with Ortiz and Barnnet pushing the pace. Ortiz, who won the EMS in 2007 and placed second overall in the Hilo Marathon this past March, was familiar with the course and experienced in racing.
Both runners exchanged the lead several times before Ortiz pulled out the narrow victory in 17 minutes and 16 seconds with Barnett less than two seconds behind.
“My plan was to stay behind the leader for the first mile,” Ortiz said after the race. “But he (Barnett) was too strong and I didn’t manage to pass him until 1.5 miles.”
But Ortiz lead didn’t last for long as Barnett pulled in front for a second time at the turn-around point. “I caught up to him at the bridge (Suissan) and we were running shoulder to shoulder towards the finish,” Ortiz said.
Barnett made a mistake coming into the finish line at Liliuokalani Gardens when he briefly made a right turn to circle the Gardens in the opposite direction. “That mistake may have cost him the race,” Ortiz said.
“It’s not a problem as I had a good time doing this race,” Barnett said of his mistake. “I just heard about the race last night and signed up this morning. I plan on going for a long run later this morning and just wanted to have fun doing the race.”
Firefighter/Paramedic, Jesse Ebersole services as the race director for the EMS which has seen the race grow each year. This year’s total entries for all three races reached 733, a new high for the EMS, according to Ebersole.
Ebersole decided to run in Sunday’s 5K for only the second time in its nine year history. “I need to do more training and less coordinating,” Ebersole said immediately after crossing the finish line.”
Despite his inability to train on a regular basis Ebersole was still the first Public Safety Employee to cross the line. “I haven’t raced in about two years, but something told me last night that I should give it a try,” Ebersole said.
For the women it was all Sally Marrick as the top Big Island woman in the Hilo Marathon became the overall winner in her first EMS run.
“After the Hilo Marathon I hurt my knee and needed to take three weeks off,” Marrick said. “I’m just getting back to racing and today I felt really good. My goal coming in was just to complete the race and I am very happy with the result.”
Over the past seven years more than $50,000 raised by the EMS event has gone to various health care related charities including the New York Firefighters Widows and Children’s Fund, Hawaii Police Activities League, Hospice of Hilo, Easter Seals of Hawaii, Hawaii Bone Marrow Registry, Hilo Medical Center Emergency Room Expansion, Alzheimer’s Aloha Chapter and several Hawaii Island Residents who were battling Cancer according to Ebersole.
Proceeds from this year’s race are going to a Hawaii Fire Department Firefighter/Paramedic who is battling Cancer, along with the American Cancer Society Hawaii Island.
“I am the race director, however we have a core group who share the responsibilities of coordinating the event,” Ebersole said. “They (coordinators) are Lance Uchida, Darryl Oliveira, Laurie Kaneta, Laura Casey, April Oshiro, Vivian Akine, Jerry Lum, Kainoa Wiley, Ralph Yawata, Garrett Kim and Joyce Cabango.”
“We are supported race day by many dedicated volunteers from the Fire Department and community in general,” Ebersole said.
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