The Scene: Sunrise Athletics deserving of hand

  • Aikido of Hilo is celebrating its 40th year of serving the community as a nonprofiti organization.

It’s a little late, but happy birthday thoughts go out to Sunrise Athletics, the youth running club in East Hawaii that started with a sensible plan and has seen in grow ten-fold in 10 years.

Organized by coaches Lance and MJ Tominaga, the original idea was to give their two first-grade daughters a place to run, since, at the time, Waiakea Elementary had a running program that started with second-graders and up.

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When it began in December of 2009, the club had eight members, but last year it listed 30-40 elementary and middle school runners in the fall cross country program, with as many as 80 participating in last summer’s track program.

As it happened, MJ and Lance decided to start a program of their own, run on their schedule, since the school programs kicked in at times they usually couldn’t meet.

“The driving force was MJ,” Lance said, “because she wanted something for our first-graders. We put our heads together and decided to organize and it went from there.”

As it grew, they realized they could help dedicated kids improve their skills, drop their times, and maybe along the way get some college scholarship help, as MJ was able to do, eventually, after graduation from Waiakea High School. The University of Hawaii at Hilo recruited her to make the walk across the street where she got her start.

“We’re still about the kids getting started with proper form and coaching,” Lance said, “but we are also trying to do everything we can to help the older kids get some college tuition help.”

Last year, Sunrise Athletics awarded two $1,000 scholarships, made easier by becoming a fully tax exempt, non-profit and the goal is to continue that on, a possibly build on it.

Next up comes the March 8 Run/Walk For a Cause, sponsored by Sunrise Athletics, that includes a 5K and 1.5 mile run at Waiakea High School that supports the high school, the middle and elementary school and Waiakeawaena.

You can go to Sunrise Athletics online for more information including details on how to contribute to the scholarship fund.

Black Belters

Speaking of longevity celebrations, this is the 40th year of continued operation in East Hawaii for Akido of Hilo, which recently promoted instructors Barbara Klein and Robert Klein, DC to the rank of Aikikai nandan, or 7th degree black belt. Tip of the cap to them for their continued service after moving here in 1980.

The Kleins began teaching classes at Waiakea Recreation Center and moved their dojo to the Koehnen’s Alley building in 1995. Over the years, thousands of students have gone through their classes and in celebration of their 40th year, Aikido of Hilo will host a seminar Feb. 15-17, featuring Kobayashi Sensei from the headquarters Aikikai dojo in Tokyo. All past students are invited to participate in the events, and more information is available on their website, AikidoOfHilo.org.

Season Opener

Cycling, technically speaking, goes round and round like the wheels on a bike, but for the competitive ones, there is a start and finish.

Opening day for Big Island cyclists is upon us in a week when the Hawaii Cycling Club’s 14th annual Prologue Training Time Trial takes place on the westside of the island, Feb. 15.

It’s a bit of welcome news for the growing group of cyclists here but it comes with an Attention Please notation for anyone planning to open the competitive season. For the first time, pre-registration is available and there will be a cost to those who don’t sign up ahead of time.

“We think of it as the start of bicycling season,” said director Tom Solis, “but we really need to get the word out about pre-registration. It makes it easier for everyone when you pre-register and avoid the one-day $10 membership fee and the $5 race day fee.

“We’ve learned, over time, that there are so many events this time of year, we really need to get people to pre-register,” he said. “A lot of our competitors are involved in other things, a lot of them are runners or swimmers and it seems like every weekend, there’s at least one and often a couple of these kind of events going on, so when we get pre-registration, we have a much better chance to get started on time. Nobody wants to be standing around waiting when you have to get up early in the morning, anyway.”

Organizers intend to seed the cyclists, based on estimated slowest to fastest times. A pre-race meeting is scheduled from 6:45-6:50 a.m., with riders starting at 7 a.m. and going every 30 seconds thereafter, but late registration pushes everything later.

The Prologue starts the season and will be followed by the Dragon 50 on March 8, which is a competition over nine hills in four groups — men’s 60-an over and 60- and under, and women’s 60-and over and 60-and under.

The Prologue starts on Queen Ka’ahumanu Highway, just north of Ka’iminani Drive.

For further information, go to hccprologue@yahoo.com.

Down and Out

The professional, polished presentation was good but the follow through left something to be desired for Big Island distance runners.

The mainland based REVEL run series, which once had 10 events at different sites in the Western United States, is now down to seven after it announced it is discontinuing REVEL Kulia, after just two years, the mostly downhill and fast distance run on the Big Island.

The second event was held in January but the organization decided to close it down, joining races in Canyon City, Calif, and Tucson, Az.

Its website proclaims it distinguishes itself with staging events on “… unique courses, emphasis on runner experience, and partnerships with local communities, nonprofit organizations, sponsors, and government agencies.”

The slant the group had was to hold it events in attractive venues, with lots of downhill running so competitors could dramatically drop their times to achieve personal bests and “qualify for exclusive events.”

Times were fast on the REVEL Kulia on Jan. 18, with the Top 10 finishers in the marathon all coming in under 3:05, but apparently the 225 finishers listed in the marathon results wasn’t sufficient for the sponsoring group to go for a third year on the course with an altitude drop of 5,351 feet.

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The website listed 332 finishers in the half marathon.

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