Record Number Of Haena Runners

Pierce Murphy blazes toward the finish line

If you’ve been a loyal reader of this space, two things are evident. One, you have good taste. Two, you know that I had been planning to run the eight-mile course for the annual Haena to Hanalei Run/Walk June 2, organized by the Hanalei Canoe Club.

Unfortunately, I was unable to deliver on that proposal. Way back in high school I had a knee ligament injury that knocked me out for a full basketball season. Now, about every four to six months, it likes to remind me of that fact with a little flare-up. So, the most recent reminder occurred just a few weeks ago and set back my training.

It seems like I was the only one who didn’t make it to the starting line, because this year’s turnout was the highest yet, as 661 registered participants hit the pavement. Locals from all points on Kaua’i hosted a global field that included runners from as far as Australia, all joining in for this unique event.

Race organizers began shuttling people out to the end of the road at Ke’e Beach before dawn, and transported close to 500 runners and walkers who were about to take in the beautiful North Shore morning views along the oneway coastal course.

It was a true family event, some even having three generations participating. “It was suggested to us that we have an Ohana division next year,” says HCC secretary Mary Mair.

Brooke Sugahara won the women’s run. Jay Armstrong photos

With such a large field, expecting the unexpected seems reasonable. Yet it was business as usual for Pierce Murphy, who claimed first place by covering the eight miles in 42 minutes, 44 seconds. The 2011 Island School graduate, who owns many a KIF record and set HHSAA records during his final state championship meet, was back at the front of the pack. Also named the 2011 Gatorade Hawaii Track Athlete of the Year, Pierce was the first to head down Weke Road to the finish line in his hometown of Hanalei.

Kapa’a’s Brooke Sugahara was the first woman to complete the eight miles, finishing with a time of 54 minutes, 37 seconds.

Mark Goodman of Kilauea finished at the front of the field in the eight-mile walk, his brisk pace getting him home in 1 hour, 32 minutes, 22 seconds. The first woman walker was 72-year-old Yvette Lavigne with a time of 1:35:49. I got to meet Yvette a few years ago, and she is a truly amazing woman who can easily pass for decades younger than her age. She also makes me feel quite lazy.

In the 5K run, Ryan Kruger of Iowa City finished the loop first with a time of 17:36. Amanda Johnson won the women’s 5K at 20:05.

The local keiki gave it their all in the one-mile Fun Run and the girls came away with the win. Princeville’s Sunny Patey claimed the quickest time of 6 minutes, 5 seconds, while Hanalei’s Lucas Anakalea was the first boy to finish in 6:40.

Kalaheo’s Nic Clark, who finished third overall in the eight-mile run with a time of 46:11, had the distinction of being the first to use the online entry registration, a first for this year’s event.

The Hanalei Canoe Club says mahalo to the volunteers, sponsors and community members who made the day possible and allowed it to be successful.

To the HCC, I say “See you in 2013 (hopefully).”