Hi Friends and Family!
We hope this post finds all well and happy. We know that’s not true of all, so please know we pray for those that we are aware of who need our prayers.
We trust that you and your family have had a great holiday season and hope you have a Happy and healthy New Year! 🥳
We have been in Hawaii since December 6 (poor us!) and have been enjoying our winter season in sunny (much of the time!) Kaneohe, Oahu. As most know, our youngest daughter, Katie, has been living here for almost ten years. This year we are on a trial run of spending three months away from the mainland. So far, it has been a very enjoyable experiment. We have only two weeks left in HI before returning to the East Coast. We have certainly been having some great experiences since we arrived. This is the first time I have sat down to put fingers to computer to add to our blog.
Upon our arrival, Katie asked us to volunteer at the Honolulu Marathon which was taking place on December 8. Considering that we had never assisted in a Marathon and since it is the fourth largest marathon in the US and by volunteering we were also supporting the Men and Women LaCrosse teams ( Katie is a LaCrosse coach), of course our answer was a resounding YES! So, what were we signing up for? Our mission was to have water ready at the first water stop of the Marathon.
Four tables, 4′ x 10′, 4 tiers high
The plan was to arrive in Honolulu in the area where the first water stop is, 2 miles in. We had to arrive at our spot by 3:00 am. Honestly, not so bad for us. We weren’t acclimated to the time difference yet anyway so time was no issue for us. We arrived a few minutes earlier than Katie. We didn’t know any of the LaCrosse volunteers but jumped in right away. For the next two hours, we helped to fill water cups that covered four 4′ x 10′ tables that were four tiers high. Just know there were mishaps in this process – all part of the team work and fun!
Tables loaded and volunteers waiting for the Marathon to start
Ah, then to wait for the first arrivals! Police escorts rode by to ensure the roads were clear. Next the wheelchairs competitors! Honestly, so inspiring! Their arm strength! Then the first world competitors! The team from Kenya (arrived approximately 10.5 minutes after the official start of the race) , whoosh, whoosh, like a organized herd of gazelles, thin, graceful, agile, in perfect form. No need for hydration for these professionals. They slide in perfect rhythm by our tables. Next participants followed about three minutes later and some water cups were taken.
We stood expectantly along the sidelines extending the water cups so the runners could grab one and keep going. When there was a connection it was so clear. Eye-to-eye contact, they headed to my outstretched hand which was holding their precious water. Loved the connection of eye-to-eye, eye-to-cup, hand to offering, the perfect connection, then the participant taking the water and moving on. Sometimes you had the eye-to-eye contact and some unnoticed runner snatched the cup from my hand before my “chosen” runner connected. So disappointing for both of us.
Katie, Kenny, and Debbie cheering the crowds – ready with water cups
The average participation for the Honolulu Marathon is 25,000 runners/walkers. There is no time limitation to complete, you can run or walk the entire 26.5 miles or just portions if you wish. For many this is a family tradition!
For quite a period of time we were holding out cups and running to grab more as soon as those we held were taken. Although it was only the first water stop, many were in need of water. As the last of the walking participants started overtaking our tables with their outstretched hands and our water almost gone, the scene was like the Night of the Living Dead. If you don’t recall the movie or haven’t seen it, just think about zombies. (You can Google the movie and view the GIFs!). And, it was only the first two miles! Oh dear! Would they complete the portion of the marathon they had committed to as their goal?
Regardless, each was participating at their own ability. Many were dolled up for the race which was very entertaining. There were small babies and toddlers in strollers with new Moms ensuring that they were keeping up with their family traditions of participating. There was a 60 year daughter pushing her 90 year old mother in a wheelchair. Both wore ballon party hats announcing their ages. Sometimes, I couldn’t stop from tearing up watching this amazing scene.
The top five winners were from Kenya, the gazelles who floated by us, with the first coming in at 2 hours and 7 minutes. What???
Clean up was easy. We swept the street of discarded cups and other debris which was managed expeditiously. Hoses were collected, tables folded and were loaded up in the pickup trucks, rakes, and brooms were collected. You’d never know ~25,000 people had come by this very spot.
Below: Emily and Renée Latimer, Ken, Debbie, and Katie Peterson and Jane Farwell – Water Stop Mile 2
LaCrosse Volunteer Team Photo following completion of cleanup
We would have gone out to celebrate but it was way too early for any life in the area. Most of the first water stop team went home to take a nap! Kenny and Katie pledged to run the marathon in 2020. A lot of training needs to be done to make that happen but both are determined.
Stay tuned for more information on fun things we have been up to.
Until next time, let’s raise our glasses to each and every child, woman, and man that participated and completed whatever part of the marathon they challenged themselves to complete! Well done!