Great Aloha Run rules the road
Tens of thousands of people are expected to hit the streets in Honolulu this morning to help island charities.
Hawaiian Telcom Great Aloha Run
An 8.15-mile race from Aloha Tower to Aloha Stadium serving as a fundraiser for more than 100 nonprofit groups
Start time: 7 a.m. today
Traffic delays: Expect road and land closures, including on portions of Ala Moana Boulevard/Nimitz Highway, Dillingham Boulevard, the H-1 freeway, Kamehameha Highway, Radford Drive, Center Drive and Salt Lake Boulevard.
More than 100 nonprofit health and human service organizations will benefit from this year's Hawaiian Telcom Great Aloha Run, an 8.15-mile footrace that has raised more than $6.8 million since its inception. The 23rd annual Aloha Run begins at Aloha Tower at 7 a.m. and ends at Aloha Stadium.
It is a heavily supported event that boasted 22,330 participants last year. The race was established by Carole Kai Charities Inc., which is now assisted in organizing the run by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association.
The Hawaii divisions of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and United Cerebral Palsy are just two of the perennial recipients of the run's proceeds. Leeward Special Olympics and the Hawaii Services on Deafness are among other agencies regularly earmarked for donations.
United Cerebral Palsy would be hurt "tremendously" without the $20,000 to $25,000 a year it receives from the run, said Donna Fouts, executive director. "There would be a huge dent in our capabilities of what we can provide" to 3,600 children in the state diagnosed with permanent brain damage at birth, she said.
The agency focuses on early intervention with children up to 3 years old and their families to provide therapy before muscular atrophy sets in. The funds go toward therapeutic services, equipment and family support.
Lisa Barnett, fundraising coordinator for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said the agency receives $5,000 to $7,000 each year from the Aloha Run to help provide "a very big part of our programs and services" for more than 700 clients and their families.
The Leeward Special Olympics receives about $3,600 to continue offering track and field, softball and swimming opportunities to its 350 disabled clients, said Director Olga Goo.
Without the money, the group would not be able to give them training, rent facilities for practice or transport the athletes to and from the events from January to June, when its "budget is down to $500 in the bank," she said.
Organizers warn that this morning's race will disrupt traffic from Aloha Tower to the stadium. Road closures along the route will start at about 4:30 a.m. and continue until the runners pass.