Sunday, April 21, 2019

Skydiving & The Hapalua Chase Weekend

Last weekend Matt and I were flown over by the race organizers to Oahu for The Hapalua Hawaii’s Half Marathon. Matt was part of Team Hawaii, a group of 24 men and women selected to race against professional runners from Kenya. Team Hawaii gets a series of head starts in front of the Kenyans based on their race times throughout the year to make it a close race in the end.
Blog's & Video's about The Hapalua:
The Hapalua - News
Reflections on the 2019 Hapalua Half Marathon Chase
2019 Hapalua Half Marathon Race Report: The Chase Kenya vs. Team Hawaii
Awards Ceremony
Trevaill will Prevail

We went over on Friday afternoon and went to the expo to pick up Matt’s number along with his team singlet. On the way in we saw our friends Jim and Helena Barahal the race organizers along with Fredrik Bjurenvall the media director. Every year it’s like seeing family. Matt’s sister Jessica and her husband Morgan brought us over to the expo in their Porsche they rented as they were also running the half marathon on Sunday. We relaxed the rest of the afternoon and evening and were looking forward to the next day.
Saturday morning was the social run with the Kenyans. We met at the park by the statue of Queen Emma along with at least 100 others. It was the biggest turn out yet for this run. We met the Kenyans Josphat and Michael and talked with them. They were quiet but seemed happy about being in Hawaii and were ready to race. We did an easy mile around Kapiolani park together then there was a raffle where Matt was one of the questions, “how many times has Matt Holton been a part of Team Hawaii & The Chase?” It has been eight years since the very first Hapalua, and Matt has participated in every one.
After the run was the first of two big events-skydiving with Skydive Hawaii. Our biddy Reid, also a member of Team Hawaii was going to do the dive with us. We missed our initial pick up and quickly rescheduled for the later pickup at 1. When we were waiting around in the hotel I was pacing around the room and doing jumping jacks. I was beyond nervous. On the drive over we were talking about everything but the jump. It was fun and relaxing. We then got to Skydive Hawaii in between two big fields. The building was a small house, and we were directed to sign the paperwork right away. It was unsettling the amount of times death was mentioned in the seven page contract. At this point our friend Reid asked if he could jump with slippers on, and was lent a pair of shoes. A group of Japanese girls went up before us, and we could see people suddenly appear in the sky and land on the big field. Before we knew it it was our turn, and our tandem guides introduced themselves and suited us up in our harnesses. My guide Potter was super mellow, young and had questions about where I was from and what I was up to on Oahu. I shared with him that the guys would be running the half marathon the next day and that I would be taking photos and video of the race from the pace truck. He told me a little bit about himself, and then we were walking out to the plane. An overwhelming sense of calm came over me once we were on the plane going up, up, and up to 12,000 ft. I was third to jump, took a deep breath, smiled and I was off. We free fell for about 45 seconds. The sound in my ears was like a jet plane. Then Potter pulled our parachute, and I immediately got nauseous. We floated down and around to land gently on the ground. It was exhilarating. I can't wait to do it again.

Video from the pace truck following the Kenyans of The Chase
Every year I have the pleasure of riding in the pace truck following the Kenyans chasing Team Hawaii down through the streets of Waikiki. over the half marathon distance. From the gun the Kenyans separated themselves from the over 8,000 runners quickly. This year we were reaching parts of the race faster than ever, and it was clear that Josphat Kimutai Kanui, and Michael Chesire were here to win. We covered 10K in state record time, 29:13. Team Hawaii was down to 13 members left by the 15K, and Josphat and Micheal were not slowing down. They were averaging 4:42 per mile and on state record pace for the half. One by one the members of the team were passed, and before we knew it we had traveled up and were now heading down Diamond Head to the finish. One of the two who remained was Matt, and we caught up with him just 800 meters from the finish putting him in third place for The Chase. The next runner Cindy Anderson was beat by Josphat by only nine seconds in state record time, 1:02.32. This was the fastest and the closest race in Hapalua history. The race organizers in the truck were all yelling and screaming, showing they are the biggest fans of the sport of running. Thanks to them this race within the race was the best yet, making us all look forward to next year.

A more detailed view of The Chase with pace, splits, and details about the runners.
It was a fabulous weekend of running, confronting fears, and having fun. I am so lucky to live here and be a part of this big running event. It is one that we look forward to every year, to see our running family and friends. Aloha.

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