November 12, 2011

Old Koloa Sugar Mill Run

While vacationing in Kauai we were lucky enough to participate in a local race, the Old Koloa Sugar Mill Run. The proceeds from the run went to scholarships for various programs at Kauai Community College. We hadn't originally planned on doing this but while waiting to pick up our luggage at the airport I picked up a brochure with "things to do" in Kauai and while flipping through it the next day I found out about the race. It was taking place in a few days and just a few miles away from where we were staying. It was a 5k, 10k and 10 mile. Online registration was available as well as same day registration.  Since we would be flying home on race day we weren't sure initially if we wanted to do it, seeing as we would be in a rush to pack our bags, check out of the hotel, then go catch a late morning flight. Two days before the race we decided to participate. After all, when would we get another chance to do a race in Kauai? We both had planned on running about 6 miles on that day anyways so we signed up for the 10k. Online registration was easy except for the Wi-Fi connection at the hotel. We paid $30 each and surprisingly there was no additional fee for online registration. The registration included a race t-shirt or tank top (we got to choose) and a post race continental breakfast. Race packet pick-up was available the day before the race so we made the 20 minute drive to a shopping center in Lihue. There we were able to pick up our bibs and t-shirts. The night before the race we packed as much as we could knowing that we would be short on time the next day. On race day we got up early and packed a few more things before getting ready for the race. We headed out of our hotel and drove a few miles to nearby Anne Knudsen park which was basically race headquarters. About a block away was the race start and finish. There was a very small lot at the park so most people, including us, parked along the street on the narrow shoulder. We walked over to the start and waited. The 10 mile participants started first at 7am, the 10k was next at 7:15 and the 5k was last at 7:30. Quite a few people lined up for the 10k but it didn't feel crowded since the race was not chip-timed and there was no timing mat. The course for all three distances headed south on Ala Kinoiki Road, a two lane paved road that was closed for the race. We then turned onto a narrow dirt road towards the old sugar mill. The road was muddy in some areas from the recent rains (it rained daily while we were in Kauai) so we just had to be careful not to misstep, although I did miscalculate at one time and ended up stepping in a puddle. After doing a loop on this dirt road we were back onto Ala Kinoiki Road and continued south on it before reaching the 10k turnaround and heading back on the paved road to the finish. The course was well marked with signs and because there were very few turns it was an easy route to follow. There was lush green foliage lining the course and you could see the mountain in the background on the way back towards the finish line. There were three water stops for the 10k which were appreciated in the humidity of Kauai. The temperature was in the 70's for the race and it was definitely humid. We were glad we were doing this at the end of our trip since we had some time to acclimate. The finish line was marked with cones but there wasn't an official mat to cross since it wasn't chip-timed. There weren't separate chutes for the different races either which made it a bit confusing and also made for congestion at the end. We think this probably paid a part in incorrect race results too. After finishing we walked back over to the park where breakfast was being served from the snack bar. We lined up and got our breakfast burrito (vegetarian or not), fruit, croissant, juice/coffee and yogurt. It was a hearty breakfast and the best one we've had from a race yet. Awards were to start at 9:15 but we asked after eating and were told they would start at around 9:30 or so. Since we were pressed for time but didn't want to miss the awards we rushed back to the hotel, showered, packed and rushed back. We made it back in time. They were finishing the 5k results as we got there and they moved on to the 10k shortly after. We noticed something was wrong with the results when a few people returned their ribbons and when people we were fairly certain did not participate in the 10k had fast finishing times. Nonetheless I got my ribbon for my age group finish and rushed out to make the drive to the airport to head home. The race was really convenient and we were lucky it was so close. There were local participants, several participants from the mainland and even a few international participants. The course was well marked, registration and bib pick-up was easy and the breakfast was great. The only thing we would change is the timing of the course and the incorrect finish results. Regardless we can now say we ran a 10k in beautiful Kauai.

Race Website
Race Results