Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Chasing the Lottery 5k Guest Recap

Thanks to John Ferdico for summarizing this year's Chasing the Lottery 5k:

This year the folks at Ironman decided to start the annual Big Island lottery drawing with a friendly little race, so last Saturday was the debut of the Chasing the Lottery 5K. Ironman recruited help from Dana and Jeff Strang of iWorkouts and Melissa and Jason Braswell of Big Island Running Company. They even convinced Jason to run in costume: he would get a thirty-second head start, and any runner who could catch him would win a prize. Since you can never have too many Ironman bags or water bottles, I figured I would join the fray.

Now, few people around here can beat Jason in a 5K even without giving him a head start, so I hoped this costume would be heavy, hot, and constricting. If it made him look utterly foolish, all the better.

The race began at the King Kamehameha Hotel amidst the cheerful chaos of the Kamehameha Regatta next door. It was a fine morning for racing, both on land and water.

Jason appeared in his costume, a white satin cape emblazoned with the Ironman M-dot logo. Contrary to my hopes he looked rather posh, and not at all slow.

Lottery Rabbit Jason
As he raced off on his 30-second head start, it appeared the cape might actually provide additional speed. Or maybe everyone just looks faster with a cape flowing behind them. In any case, he made the first turn and was completely out of sight when we were finally allowed to pursue.

Two Big Island Running Company training group regulars, James Resor and Brian Pruitt, darted off after their friend and rival. Fresh off a top-100 finish at Ironman Honu last week, Mike DeCarli tucked in behind them, and me behind Mike.

Emerging onto Kuakini after a series of twists and turns, an odd sight spread out before me: in the distance, three large, shirtless men chasing a guy in a flowing white cape. Only in Kona.

Out to the Old Airport, around the loop, and back again. Mike and I kept a 6:20 pace for the first two miles. Still, Jason appeared no closer than he had after the first turn. Clearly, there would be no bottles or bags for us.

Brian, on the other hand, caught Jason around mile two, with James was only a few seconds from doing the same. At that point, Jason tipped his cap to Brian, and settled into a race with James.
Overall Winner Brian Pruitt

It seemed Mike conceded we had little chance of catching the leaders, and let off the gas pedal just a little. Feeling like a sub-twenty minute finish was still a possibility, I held pace and soon glided past Mike. It was exhilarating. And then terrifying. I was in unfamiliar territory, and few have made a move on Mike DeCarli and held on to boast about it.

I would not be one of the few. It was like running in a nightmare, except it wasn't my imagination: I was indeed being chased. Returning to the twists and turns that signaled the last 500 meters of the race, I heard what a cavalry charge must sound like. That one man can evoke a hundred thundering battle horses is a testament to the ferocity of Mike DeCarli. He darted past, legs a blur. While humbling, I could not help but enjoy the sheer majesty of it.

Jason, in his dandy outfit, would also be humbled at the finish. James passed him to join Brian as the only two runners to beat the caped Ironman rabbit.   Now, there are rumors that Jason suffered a mysterious cramp just moments before finishing, hobbling as he relinquished his lead to James, then recovering miraculously. While I didn't see the finish, being a minute behind with troubles of my own, I am certain that the humiliation of running around town in a silly cape took a staggering toll on Jason's physical and emotional reserves.

James outsprinting the lottery rabbit to the finish
James won fair and square, and he would be rewarded for a great run. Perhaps Ironman didn't have any drawstring bags or water bottles handy, because they soon announced that Brian and James had each won a complimentary entry to the 2015 Ironman 70.3 Hawaii. They are bound for Honu. Jason and James can settle the controversy in a 70.3 mile rematch. Brian will have to learn to swim.

There were prizes for Mike and I, and for the first two female finishers as well. The Strangs donated a great iWorkouts package including a fitness evaluation, personal training session and yoga class. Wow! One went to DeCarli and another to the first female finisher, Susannah Roy. As if Mike can get any fitter.

Eve- Marie Quinton, the second female finisher, won a gift bag from the Big Island Running Company which included a running shirt, trucker hat, and water bottle. How do I know? Two reasons: the day before, Melissa called me at the store and asked me to put the gift bags together, and I won one too. Had I known, I would have thrown a few more really expensive things in there.

Honorable mention to young Cody Ranfranz. While Jason, Brian, James and I skipped Big Island Running Company's scheduled 6:30AM group run to save our legs for the race, Cody showed up and logged 6 or 7 miles, THEN ran down to the start line and raced the 5K. And still finished right behind me, 6th overall.

Cody Ranfranz
In all, 46 runners crossed the line, if you count William Mullahey, age one-and-a-half, who left the tough work to mom, Mary, before disembarking the stroller to cross the finish line in raised-arm glory. Results from the 5k are available here.

Youngest finisher William Mullahey

Then, the real winners were crowned. Following a delicious post-race buffet of breakfast burritos and malasadas, the local directors of Honu had the privilege of announcing the names of 24 Big Islanders who were chosen to participate in the 2014 Ironman World Championships.
2014 Lottery Winner Daniel Piccutta
2014 Lottery Winner Anita Leao
Happy Winner!
Congratulations to all the Kona athletes heading to the big stage in October, and to all the participants of the 5K race. It was racing with Aloha at its finest. Thanks to Ironman, iWorkouts, and Big Island Running Company for hosting a wonderful inaugural race. When word gets out about what you might win if you beat the caped Ironman, next year's Chasing the Lotttery 5K is sure to be the biggest race in town.

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