Hearts & Trails: Celebrating women at second annual event

  • Bike Works employee Haunuu Hoopai shows off the beautiful ad scenic finish line venue at Makani Golf Club. (Bike Works/Courtesy Photo)

  • Competitors participate during last year's Hearts & Trails 10-mile, 10K and 5K runs. The second annual event returns to Makani Golf Club on Sunday, Feb. 23. (Penn Henderson/Hawaii Sport Events)

After a successful inaugural year, followed by an agonizingly long twelve-month wait, it’s time to grab your run shoes and hydration packs as Janet Higa-Miller’s trail running event celebrating women is back!

On Sunday, Feb. 23, Aloha Tri Sports presents the second annual Hearts &Trails 10-mile, 10K and 5K races at the beautiful and scenic Makani Golf Club.


“It’s basically the same course and we are looking forward to some fantastic weather and fun trails,” Higa-Miller said. “We changed the finish line a bit, we are adding some fun things like a photo booth, and we have some great giveaways from the sponsors that were with us last year including Makani Golf Club.”

As all-women’s events continue to trend in popularity around the globe, last year’s inaugural Hearts &Trails was no different as the event attracted over 200 female participants.

“It’s the atmosphere,” Higa-Miller said of the difference from a co-ed race. “The women are very supportive of each other and we still have a competitive element because we do give podium prizes. But at this event, the last finishers are just as important as the first finishers.

“Many women support men in many races and there are many women who may feel intimidated by a male field. So this event is really for them — to have a venue to not feel intimidated at all. At this event, the men are volunteering, supporting and cheering — the women are racing!”

And while Higa-Miller says their motto is “celebration for women,” another phrase that encapsulates what the event is all about is, “smiles for miles.”

“We also call it ‘smiles for miles’ because no matter where you are on the course — whether you are a front runner or not — you still have a smile for the gal you are next to because it’s a looped course and there’s just a ton of encouragement when you are out there,” she said.

About Aloha Tri Sports

If you haven’t noticed, Aloha Tri Sports will present this year’s Hearts &Trails, along with several other upcoming events.

Aloha Tri Sports is a premier sports promotion company on the Big Island operated as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, and Higa-Miller is the organization’s president. Aloha Tri Sports replaced the former Aloha Sports Kona (ASK).

“When we created Aloha Sports Kona a few years ago, we wanted to do a lot of these smaller events,” said Higa-Miller. “But what we discovered is that we were donating all of the entry fees anyway to various charitable organizations. So instead of having ASK continue, we transformed it into a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization.

“Being recognized as a non-profit, we can actually accept donations and have it recognized by the Internal Revenue Service. This was one of our changes moving into 2020. So we are moving forward with some new events under Aloha Tri Sports and sadly, letting go of some events.”

Some exciting events calendared for 2020 include the return of Cyclocross and Keiki Cyclocross races at the Old Airport soccer fields on May 3, as well as the Firecracker 10K and 5K Runs at Lanihau Center slated for June 28.

Another event that continues to gain in popularity is the upcoming XTERRA Hawaii Island &Sunset Runs scheduled for Aug. 16. However, May’s Cinco de Mayo Splash, the one-mile swim race held at A-Bay and part of the Triple Crown Swim series, will not be this year’s event calendar.

Higa-Miller added that other news the community can get excited about is the expansion of Bike Works Kona as they move to a new and larger location at Kopiko Plaza.

“Bike Works is moving and it’s 5,000 square feet so considerably bigger,” she said. “Our targeted opening date is March 1st. And because we are going to be in close proximity to the Lanihau Center, our event company will be bringing back the 4th of July Firecracker Run. This was an event that was really popular with the community and Jim Lovell put it on for many years. We plan to resurrect it and it will be the same course.”

So come out and join Aloha Tri Sports for a beautiful and scenic 10-mile, 10K and 5K trail runs presented by Makani Golf Club on Sunday, February 23rd. The 10-miler kicks off at 7:30 a.m. with the 10K and 5K starting at 8 a.m. Race morning check-in and late registration will begin on-site at 6:30 a.m. Early packet pickup will be offered at Kona Sports Center from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 22.

And if you still don’t have a Valentine gift for your sweetheart — no need to fret — Hearts &Trails gift entries may be purchased at one of the following store locations: Bike Works Kona, Bikeworks Beach &Sports and Kona Sports Center. All Proceeds of the event will benefit the Puuwaawaa Dry Forest Reserve via charity partner, Ka Ahahui O Ka Nahelehele.

Higa-Miller said excitement and preparations for the second annual event is in full swing.

“We are right in the midst for planning for it, we got the medals, we are getting our T-shirts, so all of the excitement is continuing to build. We encourage any of the women who just wants to dabble into something new to come out and see what we are all about. And we appreciate so much that Makani Golf Club is allowing us to have this on their property. So just get out there, get a little dirty, have a little fun, watch where you are stepping, and just embrace the experience.”

For more information or to register online visit alohasportskona.com or visit the following: https://register.chronotrack.com/r/54300.

Coming Up

Saturday: The Hawaii Cycling Club presents the Prologue Training Time Trial – the first cycling time trial event of the year on Highway 19 just north of Kaiminani Drive. Start time is 7 a.m. for the 10-mile race with morning registration beginning on Pukiawe Street off of Kaiminani Drive at 6:15 -6:30 a.m. For more information on registration and club fees visit hawaiicyclingclub.com.


Saturday: LavaKids will host their free Family Fun Runs on the Queen’s Lei Path of Ane Keohokalole Highway fronting the West Hawaii Civic Center parking lot. Start time is 7:45 a.m. for the Keiki Dash followed by the 1-mile, 2-mile and 5K walk/runs. On-site registration will begin at 7 a.m. for both keiki and adults. For more information or to pre-register online visit lavakids.org.

Sunday: Frozen Pea Productions presents DeCarli Dip &Dash at Kaiakeakua Beach. Start time is 8:08 a.m. for the free ½-mile swim and 3.5-mile run. A LavaKids Pea Wee course of a 200-yard swim and 1-mile run is available for everyone. For more information contact Peaman at 938-2296.

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