17 February 2009

Akua Run for Vocations

Yesterday I participated in the first Akua Run for Vocations, held in conjunction with the 25th Great Aloha Run from the Aloha Tower in downtown Honolulu to the Aloha Stadium, a journey of 8.15 miles.

The Akua Run for Vocations is the brainchild of Fr. Peter Dumag, Vocations Director for the Diocese of Honolulu. It is actually a series of runs/walks held in conjunction with the various marathons held on the Hawaiian islands.

This series of runs "is a creative way to raise awareness and to strengthen the culture of vocations to the ordained ministry and consecrated life in the Diocese of Honolulu." Those who participate in the runs seek not monetary pledges for each mile run or walked, but pledges of prayers for vocations.

About 65 runners and walkers participated in this first event by gathering at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace at 6:00 a.m. for a blessing given by Bishop Larry Silva and a group photograph (I'm afraid I missed the photo as I had forgotten my sunglasses).

Before heading down to the Aloha Tower,
Bishop Silva and I pause for a quick picture,
after which he stood with a number of the Sisters present
(I can't recall who the man is or how he got in the picture).

I was impressed by the camaraderie of the group as a whole, and by how quickly Bishop Silva plodded ahead. Aside from one brief stop, he remained, I believe, well at the head of the walkers, passing quickly enough out of sight. If I'm back in Hawaii again on President's Day, I will happily participate in the Akua Run (Walk) for Vocations.

The Great Aloha Run officially kicked off at 7:00 a.m. and I crossed the starting line at about 7:20 a.m.

I walked the route with Fr. Marc Alexander, Vicar General of the Diocese of Honolulu, and Stephanie Conching, a teacher at Maryknoll High School. The provided good companionship and an enjoyable walk.

Fr. Marc (far right), Stephanie (second from right) and I take a quick picture at mile marker 3, with a few others.

At long last, the Aloha Stadium came into sight, and after winding our way through the parking lot we entered the stadium and saw our goal.

The official clock said that we crossed the finish line at 2:53:37, but given that we didn't actually begin until 7:20, we figure we walked the 8.15 miles in 2 hours and 43 minutes.

I've posted additional pictures from the run here.

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