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Take note: Hilo marathon looking for surge in sign-ups

First in a series highlighting adventures of individuals and teams in Hilo-side athletics and athletes that haven’t had traditional outlets for their news

We feel for the homes destroyed, the lives changed from lava outbreaks on the Big Island over the summer, and then we see what’s happening in California and we gain a new perspective on damage done and how long it might be for a return to normal, if there is such a thing.

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“It’s a terrible thing to see,” said Bob Wedeman, race director for the annual Hilo Marathon, “we have to be grateful for what we have here, and when you see California on fire, grateful for what we don’t have.”

It’s all true, our island is not covered in wild fires, all those lives and livelihoods are not being disrupted in a way anything like what California residents are experiencing in the throes of raging wildfires.

But that doesn’t mean we have escaped longterm results of the breakouts around Fissure 8, not far from Wedeman’s home in Puna.

The Hilo Marathon is still on for its 22nd renewal on March 17, but the lava breakouts have already had an impact, driving registration numbers down, “a good 20 percent or more” below the regular signup rates for the event.

“We’ve had to cancel the carbo dinner we have had the night before,” Wedeln said, “because we tend to take a loss of a couple grand on it, but with the numbers so low, we are simply in the position where we can no longer afford the cost. It’s not good, not what we want, but it is what it is, we have no other choice.”

Wedeman was busy this week looking for a host hotel that would provide a room for signups and perhaps space for the health and fitness component to the event.

“It’s never been this slow,” he said, “but we will continue, and hopefully, build it back up to the place it was.”

Rugby Just For Girls — If it’s November, it must be rugby season, and if your daughter wants to mix it up a little in a sport that is nowhere near the brutally vicious competition as it often displayed, she might want to see what this is all about.

Hawaii Youth Rugby has started a high school age girls’ seven-a-side rugby series, with the first game in Kona on the 24th.

It will be a reunion of sorts with girls’ high school-aged teams from the Big Island, Maui and Oahu will meeting for a one day tournament, the first of a three-part series of matches.

Yes, you have time to join up and get busy. In December, the Hilo Reign will fly to Oahu for another series of games, then in January the series concludes in Maui.

For further information, go to their Facebook page, Hilo Reign Rugby, or call coach Lawrence Fong, 938-8292.

High Divers — The newest sports club on the Hilo side is looking for youngsters interested in testing their diving skills from a 30-foot board, under the tutelage of experienced coach DJ Freedman.

They meet all week at Kawamoto pool, with a variety of entry levels. For further information, emailemail dj@hilohidiving.org.

Sunrise runners — At a regularly scheduled fun run earlier this month at Panaewa Park — the 5th Annual Sunrise Community Fun Run — years of building finally reached the payoff stage when Sunrise Athletics awarded $1,000 toward college scholarships to Sam Marrack and Steven Chung of Hilo High School.

“The scholarships will be awarded on a yearly basis from now on, that’s the plan,” said Lance Tominaga, co-founder of Sunrise Athletics. “We are just getting started.”

And so is a collection of 14 local runners who will head to Walnut, Calif., to compete in the West Regional Cross Country Race on Dec. 1. This meet will provide a wide example of the level of competition in their age groups.

The runners attending, by school, with current grades listed:

Hilo High School — Sam Marrack (12), Phoebe Wyatt (9); Waiakea — Akemi Tominaga (9), Teryn Tominaga (9), Violet Hart (11), Ella Johnson (11), Kacie Tagawa (10), Cassidy Denault (10, Kederang Ueda (9), Deylan Okinaka (11), Ayrton Takane (10), Shane Tominaga (5, Waiakea Elementary); Christian Liberty Academy — Jaeda Yamasaki (11).

Almost, but not quite too late to sign up for winter track season with Sunrise Athletics, taking new registrations through Saturday. For more information, see www.leaguelineup.com/sunrise-athletics.

Ocean Swimmers There’s nothing wrong with swimming in a pool, especially when there’s no other alternative, but the preference for a lot of people here is the real deal — the ocean.

There is always a good-sized group that shows up for the annual swim at Richardson’s beach, but if you need to get in shape for that one, or if you just need a nudge to jump in the ocean and give it a go, a group meets there every Sunday morning at 8:45 for a mile long swim and they are eager to have more experienced ocean swimmers join in.

What A Pickle — A story in USA Today a few months ago proclaimed pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in the country, “… with more than 2.8 million players and a 12 percent increase in the past year, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.”

The game is played in elementary schools, community rec centers, country clubs and lately has been growing in Hilo where the first public pickleball event south of Hilo took place at the Shipman Park tennis courts in Keaau this week. Sponsored by the Hawaii Parks and Recreation Elderly Services Division, the activity included players young and old, with more events planned.

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For further information, call Don Besse, USAPA Ambassador for Hilo at 808.731.6329

Any non-traditional sports and their athletes needing to communicate to the community are urged to contact barttribuneherald@gmail.com. Include facts like names and dates, either for recent or upcoming events and attach a contact number.