Put On Your Headlamp For This Run

Runners line up at last year's NiteRun at Kualoa Ranch  PHOTO COURTESY NITERUN

Runners line up at last year’s NiteRun at Kualoa Ranch

Dinner at a nice restaurant, movies, a concert, maybe dancing at a nightclub — these are your typical activities for a fun night out with friends, family or a date. Well, these days you can add running to the list. Typically, organized fun runs take place in early morning on a weekend.

But it seems more and more fun runs are taking place at night.

Last weekend, hundreds gathered for Ward Village NiteRun, a 5K fun run/walk around Kewalo Basin, followed by a street party with entertainment, food and more. It served as a benefit for JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) Hawaii, while providing a fun venue that promotes health and fitness.

If you missed it, don’t worry. Kailua NiteRun is coming up Oct. 11 at 7 p.m., featuring a unique 3-mile out-and-back run along Kawainui Marsh.

“It begins just after dusk with a Hawaiian blessing or pule to venerate our sojourn,” notes run director Chris Gardner. “Then we will seek permission from the aumakua or ancestral god of Kawainui fishpond, the mo’o, to cross this sacred land.

“This is no race. We will not be timed and there will be no awards for the fastest finisher. The accolades will be given to the aina, to Kawainui Marsh for sustaining Kailua and the Windward communities, since the first Hawaiians came across its waters. Our goal is twofold: to educate and protect Kawainui Marsh and to raise funds for Boys & Girls Club of Hawaii.”

Participants meet in Whole Foods parking lot before the run, and then are escorted in groups across the street to the start, where there will be a stage with live music. The course will be lit by LED lights, glowsticks and headlamps. Along the course there will be local artists sitting on the wall playing acoustic music, and at the other end of the marsh will be another stage with a band.

After the run, participants are invited to a post-race celebration in conjunction with the Cool Kailua Nights block party and health awareness fair. There will be more entertainment, food from local vendors, a keiki area, games, prizes and more.

“We’re a night run that is local community-oriented,” explains NiteRun co-founder John Henderson. “We do it in local parks and in our major areas — the North Shore, town, Kailua, and we’re gonna do one on the Westside. And the biggest thing is for each one: 100 percent of the proceeds benefits a local nonprofit.”

For Henderson, who works in medical device distributor-ship and construction development, putting on NiteRun is not only a way to give back, but also a way for him to stay involved with the local running community. In 2009, Henderson was hit by a tour bus while on a four-hour training ride on the North Shore. A champion 24-hour mountain biker who has completed three full Ironman distance triathlons, four half-Ironman distance triathlons, and held a world ranking of 18th for the Xterra Off Road Triathlon World Championships, he now sits in a wheelchair.

“I can’t run in all these races, but I thought how can I still be a part of it?,” he says. “The creation of NiteRun came from the thought of, if you take a runner and stick him on a dirt road and have him run three miles at 9 a.m., it is what it is. But if you take that same runner and you do it at 9 p.m. in the pitch black, it turns into an adventure.”

Kailua NiteRun is open to runners and walkers age 12 and up. Cost is $45 and includes a headlamp and shirt. Late registration is $55 after Sept. 26. A $10 discount is available to HGEA members, students and military. To register or for more information, visit niterun.com.