H A W A I I _ S P O R T S

Ko‘olau Trek
runs into roadblocks

For starters, the $100,000 prize purse
for the 10-mile race has
fallen through

By Pat Bigold

The $100,000 prize purse for the Great Trans Ko'olau Trek, as announced last November, has fallen through.

Also, the race will offer only three aid stations for runners -- and only two will be before the finish.

Race director Dr. Jack Scaff confirmed these facts yesterday in a phone interview.

The earlier announcement said $25,000 would be presented to the top male and top female finishers.

This follows the revelation that the 10-mile race is far behind in registration numbers for its projected field of 60,000 to 100,000 runners.

The Star-Bulletin reported a few weeks ago that registration was at 8,800 but Scaff claimed yesterday that he has reached 15,000 and predicted there would be 25,000 for the May 11 event.

But the hefty prize structure, which would have been one of the best in the world for a road race of any distance, is now out of the question.

"The sponsorship for the prize money just didn't come through," he said. "There has been much less interest in this event from sponsors than we expected. Sponsors seem to want a long-term relationship and this is a one-time event."

The roadway will open to traffic some time after the race and pedestrians will not be allowed on it again in the near future.

The marketing agent responsible for the prize structure announcement could not be reached last night for comment.

Scaff had hoped to attract a world class field of elite runners, but currently only a few professional runners have indicated they plan to race on the new elevated highway that winds along the Ko'olau mountain range and through two tunnels en route to the H-1 in Halawa on May 11.

Scaff said air fare and accommodations were guaranteed for only two pro runners via "an anonymous benefactor."

Scaff said the entry deadline for the race has now been extended until April 1. Entries will be accepted at the earlier $39 rate.

He said no one has paid the $49 "late" entry fee or the $59 or $80 "very late" entry fees for local residents published in the three different entry forms circulated through the community.

Asked if he will enforce late entry fees even though the race numbers are down, Scaff said he will.

He said 50 percent of entry fields for road races manifest themselves in the last few weeks before the race and people are willing to pay whatever fee is necessary to enter.

"At the end, they don't really care how much they have to pay," said Scaff, who also organizes the Great Aloha Run.

"We had people on race day at the Great Aloha Run with $100 bills pinned to their vests asking, 'Where can I enter?' So we accept them."

However, the Honolulu Marathon registers most of its field long before the final weeks before the race.

And, unlike the H-3 run, the regular entry fee for the marathon -- a 26.2-mile event -- has been $30 for local residents since 1993.

Late entry fee is $40, very late is $50 and race week fee is $60.

Scaff said his fee is so high because of the cost of busing runners.

The marathon also buses runners to the start but Scaff said he will also have to bus his runners back from the finish at Aloha Stadium to the area where they started.

The course for the Ko'olau run has yet to be measured and certified by USA Track and Field. Scaff said that may take place at the end of April.

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© 1997 Honolulu Star-Bulletin