A record number, 934 people, laced up their sneakers early Sunday morning to participate in one of several races sponsored by the Hawaii Island Emergency Medical Services.
“I can’t even believe this many people would come out to show their support for our Fire Fighters,” an elated Jesse Ebersole said of the turnout.
Ebersole, a firefighter himself who has been involved with directing the race for all 12 years, has seen the event grow by leaps and bounds.
“I couldn’t possible put this event together without the great support of our volunteers,” Ebersole said
For the serious at heart there was a 3.1 mile run while casual walkers got to do a fitness 2 mile walk. Both events started and finished at Liliuokalani Gardens and traversed over the Suisan Bridge following the magnificent Hilo Bay coast line before heading back.
Much of proceeds raised from this year’s race will go to benefit the Greg Cameron Scholarship Fund.
“Greg was a Fire Medical Specialist who recently passed away after battling cancer,” Ebersole said. “He was an inspiration to those who knew him and this scholarship will focus on creating professional development opportunities for Hawaii Fire Department personnel.
According to Ebersole a portion of the money raised with also go to Hospice of Hawaii Island.
“We have raised over $70,000 for various individuals and organizations since hosting the EMS races,” Ebersole said.
Prior to the event the Fire Department showcased two of its Emergency helicopters as both landed in the center of Liliuokalani Gardens while several Fire Trucks lined the entrance to the Gardens to begin the race.
During the race it was a familiar face jumping out to an early lead. Two time defending Big Island Interscholastic Federation, high school cross country champion, Chris Mosch lead from start to finish.
Mosch won his BIIF titles in 2010 & 2011 while attending Honokaa and is now attending the University of Oregon where he runs for a Club Team.
“I grabbed an early lead in the first 100 yards and was pretty much running by myself after that,” he said.
Finishing in a time of 17 minutes and 30 seconds the former Dragon was never seriously challenged.
“It was fun running in the lead as I received lots of cheering on the way back,” he said of the out and back 3.1 mile course. “It was also great weather for running as there was a steady drizzle and it remained overcast throughout.”
Mosch was chased by Hiromasa Veno who placed second in 17:51. Followed by Nick Muragin, 18:11; Lyman Perry, 18:18; and Hilo High star Stephen Hunter, 5th overall, in 18:30.
Molly Schmelzle was the first woman to cross the finish line in 19:42, good enough for 14th overall, but couldn’t be located after the race for this interview.
Second woman was another prep star from Hilo High School in Carmen Garson-Shumway who clocked 21:34 and finished 27 overall. Viking teammate Mehana Sabado-Halpern followed as the third woman, 29th place overall.
A Special Public Service Division award to recognize the top male and top female in public community service has been a tradition at the EMS 5K runs and two very familiar people, both from the same department, was again in the winner’s circle.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources crowned the top male and female from the same office and has bragging rights to the fastest 5K runners.
Lisa Hadway has won the Public Safety Division six times and Lyman Perry won his fourth.
“This isn’t my fastest time, 22:25, but I am getting older,” Hadway said of recently turning 40.
“I’m staying in pretty steady shape and 40 has been good to me.”
Hadway’s husband, Matthias Kusch a firefighter, finished just behind his wife in 26:11. Second overall in the Public Safety Division was another firefighter, Kainoa Willey in 22:14.
“This was a great turnout to honor our brother, Greg Cameron.” Ebersole said. “He helped us through the process, staying strong and enjoying life. He will surely be missed.”