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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, January 18, 2008

In Kuwait, race goes on

By Mary Vorsino
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

For Army Sgt. Maj. Ruben Cavazos, this year marks the seventh time he’ll run the HURT 100 — but this time he’ll be doing it in Kuwait.

Ruben Cavazos photos

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Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Army Sgt. Maj. Ruben Cavazos is shown here competing in last year’s HURT 100, a 100-mile race through Manoa, Tantalus and Nu'uanu. It’s a grueling event: Last year, less than half of the 100 runners finished.

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O'ahu resident Army Sgt. Maj. Ruben Cavazos is running Hawai'i's HURT 100 in Kuwait to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

To donate, contact Cavazos in Kuwait by e-mail.

More information on Cavazos' run and the HURT 100 race is available at www.hurt100trailrace.com

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Ruben Cavazos hasn't let an overseas deployment stop him from running in one of his favorite races of the year — a 100-mile trek on trails through Manoa, Tantalus and Nu'uanu.

Only this year he'll be running it in Kuwait.

The 48-year-old Army sergeant major from Hawai'i will start out at 6 a.m. tomorrow — just like his fellow HURT 100 race runners.

But Cavazos plans to run 20 times around a five-mile loop on Camp Arifjan in Kuwait. The HURT 100, coordinated by the Hawaiian Ultra Running Team, covers 100 miles on rough, sometimes muddy Honolulu trails, in which long-distance runners finish five 20-mile laps in anywhere between 22 and 36 hours.

"Running here is going to punish the feet and the back as the asphalt is not friendly after so many miles," Cavazos said, in an e-mail from Kuwait. "It will be painful to cover the 100 miles here, but will never compare to the HURT in Hawai'i."

Cavazos has run the HURT 100 six times.

And when he learned about his deployment to Kuwait, he approached race directors to ask whether he could run his seventh race — remotely. In addition to keeping what's become a tradition, Cavazos will be running the race to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project, which helps soldiers who have been injured.

"I have deployed before and not only had friends wounded, but lost some," he said. "WWP is an organization that I can support and would like to think that my doing so would promote their cause."

The HURT 100 started in 2000 and has attracted the attention of long-distance runners from around the country. Of the 95 people participating this year, about half are coming in from the Mainland.

The others are from around the state.

The number of runners who finish the race varies from year to year and depends on trail and weather conditions, said HURT 100 registrar PJ Salmonson. Last year, about 40 of 100 runners finished.

Salmonson said Cavazos has become an inspiration for other long-distance runners.

"What Ben is doing is a great thing," he said. "We're pretty sure he'll finish the 100 miles."

Cavazos, wearing race No. 100, hopes to finish in 24 hours.

Though no one else is running the race remotely, other soldiers have pledged to run alongside Cavazos for portions or the length of the race. Others have volunteered to take donations at the race for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Cavazos, who will be running the 100-mile race with two screws in his left knee from surgeries, has dedicated his run to Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Victor Jeffries, a former teacher at Farrington High who was killed last month in Kuwait in a vehicle accident.

Reach Mary Vorsino at mvorsino@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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