CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii --
Avid runners participate in recreational races on a regular basis around the world, but service members in Hawaii have an upcoming opportunity to compete and give back to their local and military communities.
Though the 26th Annual Kaiser Permanente Great Aloha Run may be a few months away, Feb. 15, submission deadlines are quickly approaching.
The slightly more than eight-mile run begins at the Aloha Tower and ends at Aloha Stadium. Its purpose is to raise money for local charitable organizations, such as the Hawaii High School Athletics Association, charities that help the handicapped and disabled, and military Moral, Welfare and Recreation programs.
“Last year we donated more than $370,000 to local charities,” said Carol Jaxon, the GAR director. “Participants get a triple investment. They get to stay fit, support local businesses which participate in the event, and give back to the community.”
Competitors may choose from numerous divisions in which to compete, such as age groups, wheelchair competitors, handcycle competitors, military personnel running as individuals, and the Sounds of Freedom--service members running in formation.
Service members and their families receive an admission discount and one dollar is returned to their respective service, in addition to a shot at cash prizes for the top three finishing service members.
Participants must submit their entry forms in advance. Early entries must be submitted with a $30 non-refundable check or money order, and post marked no later than Dec. 4. Those who submit early entries are eligible for an ‘In Training’ t-shirt and daily planner. Regular entries are due no later than Jan. 22 and are also $30. All others can enter the race Feb. 12 – 14 at the Great Aloha Run Expo at the Neil Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall for $40, cash or credit only.
Units planning to compete in the Sounds of Freedom formation run are required to complete a military unit application form, which can be found at the GAR Web site, http://www.greataloharun.com, and submit $13 per person. Other participants may register and find additional information at the site.
“When we give our donations out, it’s a big emotional moment,” Jaxon said. “If there is a non-profit charitable organization in trouble, our board votes and gives them a donation on the spot. By supporting this run, we can provide an immediate response to a community need.”