Lover’s Day 5K raises 488 pounds of canned goods for Food Pantry in HPP
Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching and Big Dog Productions got a head start on the big day by hosting a Lover’s Day 5K on Sunday.
Over 300 people showed up to either run, walk or jog the 3.1-mile scenic course along the coast of Hilo Bay, setting a new record for Big Dog Productions number of participants..
With the theme being Lover’s Day the Big Dog decided to add a new twist to the fitness event by offering a special recognition award to couples that held hands while covering the 5K distance.
It was a pleasant surprise to see so many couples eager to take advantage of the novel idea. Duo’s volunteered to have their wrists tied together with yarn in order to keep with the Lover’s Day theme.
A couple from Kenai River in Alaska, Cindy and Jim Nelson, jogged the entire distance to set the record for fastest time for a couple holding hands, with their finishing time of 36 minutes and 35 seconds.
“We’re in love,” Cindy Nelson said after the race. “Just like love we keep on running together.”
According to Jim Nelson the event was his Valentine’s Day present to his wife.
“We enjoy doing things together and we got motivated when we did the Big Dog Resolution Run on Jan 1,” Jim Nelson said. “We’ve been running almost every day since the New Year and will continue to do so.”
Another couple, Archie and Marlene Hapai, wanted to try something new in order to create another memory together.
“We’ve been married for 39 years and we just wanted to see if we could do it and have another crazy memory to share,” Marlene Hapai said.
The Hapai’s believe that to keep a relationship together takes daily work.
“We do little things for each other and we take an interest in and actively participate in each other’s interests,” Archie Hapai said.
Another couple that decided to join in on the hand holding fun was Steve and Andrea Sparks from Puna.
“Part of doing this walk together is a comeback of sorts for us,” Andrea said. “This is going to be the start of our goal in doing a walking event every month.”
“We always hold hands or join at the elbows wherever we go,” Steve said. “Today is a memorable event for us as we met people from all over the country.”
Other couples doing the event holding hands included Davis Abraham and Stacey Kapeliela, James and Nancy Iaukea, along with Shane, Noah and Malia Johnston.
The event was more about couples than it was about individual runners, but there were your usual cast of serious men and women who wanted to test their harrier skills while getting a good cardiovascular workout.
Leading the pack from the very start was University of Hawaii at Hilo cross country runners Zach Johnson and Kirsta Andrew.
“I ran with teammate Paul Mauser for most of the way,” Johnson said. “We didn’t separate until the half way turn around point and after that I was running by myself.”
Johnson finished in 17 minutes and 57 seconds and was followed by Tyde Kaneshiro, 18:04; Justin Pang, 18:07, Isaiah Sato, 18:23; Jackson Halford, 18:59; and Mauser came in sixth at 19:02.
For the women it was Andrew running with Vulcan coach Nina Hagemann as the two decided to stay together in the early going.
“I ran with Nina for most of the race and we didn’t separate until we saw the finish line, about 50 meters in front,” Andrew said. “At that point I started my kick.”
Andrew took top women honors with her time of 22 minutes flat and Hagemann coming in three seconds behind. Hilo’s Lory Hunter took third at 23:07.
Kamehameha School parents, teachers and staff decided to participate under the direction and leadership of Zeeny Eakins and Bob Wagner.
“We did the New Years Day Resolution run/walk and wanted to try to do another event outside of work,” Eakins said. “We had about 40 from the Kamehameha ohana and everyone had a smile on their face when they finished.”
“We’re happy to come out and do something for the community,” Wagner said. “Giving canned goods to the Food Basket is a great cause and coming out to get some exercise for our bodies is a positive way to stay health and fit for our own families.”
The event raised a total of 488 pounds of canned food items for the Hawaiian Paradise Park Food Pantry, with some participants donating cash to help the islands Food Basket.
Coming up on Sunday, March 20, is the 14th annual Big Island International Marathon, Half Marathon and 5K run/walk.
Both the full marathon (26.2 miles) and half marathon (13.1 miles) have been sold out since January 3, but there are nearly 90 remain slots for the 5K (3.1 mile) event.
Those interested in participating in the 5K should sign up soon because once those remaining slots are taking the 5K will also be closed.
To sign up go to www.hilomarathon.org or for more information on the event or on how to volunteer call the Big Dog at 969-7400.