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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Great Aloha Run deploys to Afghanistan

By Peter Boylan
Advertiser Staff Writer

Organizers of the Great Aloha Run have helped set up three race courses in Afghanistan, allowing more than 2,000 Hawai'i-based troops deployed in that country to participate in a version of the run this month.

From left, Stanford Carr Development president Stanford Carr, AIG Hawaii Insurance CEO Robin Campaniano, Army public affairs officer Capt. Kathy Turner and Randal Hiraki of Commercial Plumbing pick up more than 2,000 race T-shirts for a shipment to Afghanistan.

Richard Ambo • The Honolulu Advertiser

Carole Kai, organizer of the event, said the Army contacted her about putting together three 8.15-mile courses at three undisclosed locations in Afghanistan so that soldiers from all branches of the military could run the race, which is co-sponsored by The Advertiser.

The military declined to name the locations of the courses, citing troop security concerns.

She said the military traditionally enters more than 5,000 people in the Great Aloha Run in Hawai'i, with most of the units running the race in training formation.

"For the troops, it means a lot," Kai said yesterday. "They (the military) wanted to do it in Afghanistan to keep the feeling of being close to Hawai'i."

Yesterday, Kai oversaw the shipment of more than 2,000 race T-shirts that were donated to the military by AIG Hawaii and The Advertiser. The T-shirts will be worn by the Hawai'i-based military troops participating in the run.

Stanford Carr Development and Commercial Plumbing covered the cost of shipping all of the T-shirts that will be included with several promotional banners created for the race.

She said the military members running in Afghanistan will not have to pay the standard race entry fee of $25. Instead, she said, the soldiers will be asked to make a donation to the Great Aloha Run and the 27 charities that the race benefits.

Held annually on Presidents Day, the Great Aloha Run in Honolulu is an 8.15-mile "fun run" from Aloha Tower Marketplace to Aloha Stadium.

Participants run, jog, walk or push strollers; some people dress up in costumes.

Co-founded in 1985 by Kai, the Great Aloha Run has raised more than $6.2 million for more than 100 charitable organizations, community groups and elderly care in Hawai'i. The race annually attracts more than 20,000 participants, both island residents and visitors.

The Great Aloha Run is the second-largest running event in Hawai'i after the Honolulu Marathon.

Reach Peter Boylan at pboylan@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-8110.