Maui is one of the most beautiful island destinations in the world. Visitors have flocked to the oasis, seeking out its stunning scenery and rumored healing properties. The island has something for every traveler whether it's an adventure-themed trip full of extreme water sports or spending each day in a new community, experiencing its culture and events.
The Maui 5K is entering its sixth year benefiting the community and promoting healthy living. It’s a family friendly run/walk that includes a timed 5K race and a mile-long untimed fun run for all ages. The purpose of the event is to promote health and fitness for children of Hawaii by increasing the scope of youth athletic programs and activities. Both races begin in the morning with the start times staggered by fifteen minutes to eliminate congestion at the start line. After the race, there will be refreshments, entertainment, an area where schools can set up tents for post-race parties, and an awards ceremony. We got the opportunity to interview Arlene Emerson, a representative for the event, to talk about this unique running experience.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.
AE: This is a 5K run and a 1 Mile Run/Walk event, which will take place on March 5th beginning at 7:00 am.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
AE: This event will be in its 6th year in 2017.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
AE: The event draws about 600 to 700 participants each year and keeps growing.
RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event? Children? Families? Couples?
AE: All ages may participate including parents with strollers. Most participants are families (including grandparents) with children. There are also couples (new and old) and, at times, visiting corporations or business groups will use the event as a company function.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
AE: The Run for Fitness aka Maui 5K is a nonprofit organization. This is the only race held on the island which benefits the local schools and their physical fitness, play and athletic programs. A portion of the entry fees will be donated back to the schools, and the participants may designate which school they would like the donated entry fees to be given to during the online registration process. Coaches and teachers promote the event within their schools to increase participation in an effort to better benefit from the proceeds. There are always fun competitions going on between the schools to see who will have the most participants.
RAL: What activities will attendees encounter?
AE: Zumba by Keoni’s Hot Lava DanceFit will be provided to all shortly after the race starts, and a Critter Station by Maui Ocean Center will be open in the post-race area where children and adults can see, touch and learn about some live marine shore animals.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
AE: Maui’s Mayor Alan Arakawa has attended all yearly events.
RAL: What will attendees find for dining options?
AE: Post-race refreshments are provided. Several restaurants can be found in the Ma’alaea Harbor Shops at the event site.
RAL: What is the overall environment like?
AE: Attendees will find cool early morning temperatures on race day. It's a safe course that is located in a fun and happy environment!
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
AE: Beautiful hotel accommodations can be found in Wailea or Lahaina, and unique vacation rentals can be found throughout the island.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
AE: Yes, to the businesses surrounding the event site and to the event sponsors through advertising and discounts offered.
RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?
AE: This event supports the Maui schools and their families by helping to promote health & fitness. The funds raised for the schools are used for the purchase of playground or sports equipment. The coaches and teachers promote the event within their schools to increase participation.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
AE: Many visitors like that it is a short race and the fact that entry fees will benefit the local schools. Popular Maui artist Robert Lyn Nelson allows one of his artworks to be printed on the event t-shirt, which is a great souvenir to have. The event is held at a location with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.
For more information about the Maui 5K, please visit their website.