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The Great Aloha Run

    By Anne Krogh. February 24, 2016 - 9:41 pm

running_shoesI recently moved to Hawaii for one semester at HPU and figured I might as well enjoy my hobby of running here on this beautiful island. I have been running for around two years now and my interest in this activity has grown along with my physical endurance.

The goal is the Copenhagen Half-Marathon in September, so I thought The Great Aloha Run would be a great 13K practice. The newsfeed on my Facebook account switched from Danish news to Hawaiian news and that was where I saw the run and decided to join in, and also because it was voted the top “100 Great Road Races” to participate in by Runner’s World.

The race was set for the third Monday in February, many of you probably know this as Presidents’ Day or as a day off from school. The race started at Aloha Tower and ended in the great Aloha Stadium. I ran the 8 miles (13K) and was entertained throughout the whole race by local school bands and the local radio stations and it all seemed very supported by the local community.

After the race, which I finished in an okay time of 01:30, I enjoyed my free cold RedBull and a banana, and then I thought of something very interesting – Why do we run for charity?

The Great Aloha Run is a charity event that benefits Carole Kai Charities who organizes the race and makes donations to local charities. The run started in 1985 and had over 12,000 participants in its first year and more than 24,000 in 2016 making it one of the largest in Hawaii. This charity run has donated nearly $11 million to over 150 non-profit health and human service organizations and community groups in Hawaii.

And the Great Aloha Run is definitely not alone. The Chicago Marathon has over 190 charity partners and the New York City Marathon counts 317 non-profit charity partners. Most marathons have a waitlist for charities that want to get their foot in the door. Along with new charities arising and an increase of 74% in the last six years in the number of charities supporting races around the world, it apparently has become very trendy to both participate in and support charity races.

So why has this become so “in”? I like to think that people actually care for one another and want to support those who are not so lucky. The Great Aloha Run definitely gave me the feeling through cheers and events along the race that I actually did something to help. I know running itself did not help anyone, but the fact that I paid a $43 entry fee to the charities might help someone on the other end.

And the feeling of running with 24,000 other participants created this special atmosphere I haven’t felt before. This was not only because of “the greater good,” but the feeling of being part of something bigger than myself. And the fact that 24,000 people paid to run (which someone might find very stupid) for charity, showed that people actually do care and are not as selfish as we might think.

Thanks for a great run!

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