A Chance To Walk-Run Ka Iwi Coast

It is one of the most scenic drives on Oahu. The winding four-mile road from Hanauma Bay to Sandy Beach offers an incredible view of the pristine Ka Iwi coastline and the thunderous surf crashing against the jagged cliffs.

Truthfully, the only way to safely enjoy this magnificent gift from Mother Nature and to feel and smell the sea spray from below is to pull into one of the lookouts along the way. But how many of us are guilty of recklessly turning our attention away from oncoming traffic just to steal a quick glance at the postcard-like view?

On Oct. 6, curious onlookers will have a rare opportunity to safely experience the open road and walk along Kalanianaole Highway.

“Growing up in East Honolulu and driving around that road and, of course, paddling that coastline, I thought running or walking it would be a wonderful opportunity for families,” says veteran canoe paddler and longtime Hui Nalu Canoe Club member Kelly Fey.

Fey’s vision was the origin for the inaugural Ka Iwi Coast Run & Walk, a community-oriented journey along the winding road. This is the first time the coastal highway will host a pedestrian race. Proceeds from the fundraising event will benefit Hui Nalu Canoe Club.

“We’re going to close the entire road from Sandy Beach to Hanauma Bay,” says club member Carol Jaxon. “It’s going to be a very cool event because you’ll be able to enjoy the coastline. It ends at Maunalua Bay and our canoe halau at Hui Nalu.”

The event will begin at 6:30 a.m. with the rise of the sun over the Ka Iwi coastline and the performance of a special Hawaiian chant composed for the event. Jaxon says that in addition to the beauty of the route, organizers wanted to provide an educational aspect to the run/walk.

“When you pick up your packet, there will be a map of all the Hawaiian place names along the coast,” says Jaxon. “We wanted to give people a chance to learn something while enjoying the view.”

For more than three decades, Hawaii Kai and Waimanalo residents fought hard to preserve the Ka Iwi coastline from development. At one time it was targeted for resort and residential growth. In 2010, the state Land Use Commission voted unanimously to reclassify about 215 acres between Queen’s Beach and the Makapuu lighthouse from urban to conservation.

“It’s really an easy course and you can walk it,” says Jaxon. “We’re going to have the road closed for two hours so you can even stroll it.”

A shuttle service will be provided to the starting line. In addition to a race T-shirt, up to 1,000 entrants will receive a hand-blown glass fishing float. A commemorative booklet also will be available to highlight places of cultural significance. Nonprofit organizations from the community will be present at the end of the race to share their missions and promote stewardship of the coastline. Hui Nalu Canoe Club members will answer questions about paddling and the club.

For more information on the Ka Iwi Coast Run & Walk, go to kaiwicoastrun.org.