Running With An Exclusive Club
Friday - February 11, 2009
Runner John Humphrey belongs to a club that will never grow in size, since you would have had to be there from day one to be a member. And while membership will never go up, the numbers continue to go down.
To be a member, you must be one of 78 who have completed all of the last 24 Great Aloha Runs.
Humphrey is one of those 78, and now, at age 81, he will lace up his shoes once again to take his mark at the start line Feb. 16 for the 8.15-mile foot race that starts at Aloha Tower and ends at Aloha Stadium.
“My fastest time was just over an hour,” he recalls. “This year, my goal is to just finish.”
Humphrey, a retired Navy pilot and financial adviser, is originally from San Diego and moved to Hawaii about 40 years ago.
After moving to the Islands, Humphrey and wife Ellen started running after meeting other runners at the Pearl Harbor bike trail. He also joined Mid Pacific Road Runner’s Club, of which he has been a member for about 25 years.
“Running has kept me in shape and slim,” he says. “And I like running in the Great Aloha Run because of the fact that I’ve run them all and it’s for a good cause.”
About a year and a half ago, Humphrey was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in his right arm. He says it hasn’t affected his running, but it has affected his knees and back.
“I haven’t been doing any running or walking for almost a year now,” he says. “I just started walking again, and hopefully I can get up to doing it every other day. I’m pretty sure this will be my last (Great Aloha Run).”
The very first Great Aloha Run attracted 11,698 participants.
This year, about 20,000 runners are expected.
“These runners (who have completed all the Great Aloha Runs) mean a very lot to us,” says race founder Carole Kai. “They were the ones who were the base of our growth. If they didn’t continue to care about participating, we would’ve stopped growing.”
Kai says they plan to acknowledge this special group of runners, which they are calling the President’s 100 Group, at the post-race Outback Steakhouse Stadium Party.
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