The walk started a few hours earlier this year (10:15pm), because we realized walking thru the night yielded cooler temperatures and hopefully meant for more sustained energy till the end. A group of about 20 family members and friends gathered to walk with Tommy from Hau'ula Elementary to Variety School of Hawai'i in Diamond Head. Energy was high, as excitement to start filled the country air. Under Armour donated a limited amount of bright yellow shirts (visible in the dark) for the walkers to wear...Thank you Under Armour! Tommy and a few of the veteran walkers from last year strategized over rest stops, and rest times, to try and cut down the length of the entire walk. Tommy's brother, Bu Heffernan, drove the escort vehicle this year, since I couldn't commit to the entire night-morning duration (because we're expecting:). Bu's truck carried all the survival basics like food, drinks, extra clothes and basic medical supplies.
The participants walked throughout the night battling blisters, sore muscles, and fatigue. The 20 mile walk from Hau'ula to Kane'ohe district park took about 7 hours. The team stopped for a quick breakfast of breakfast sandwiches and fresh corn bread made by our cousin, Renee. Likelike tunnel was described as the longest, most difficult part of the walk. The next stop would be Kamehameha Shopping Center. There, the participants were greeted with cold, refreshing drinks from Petals and Beans, a great coffee shop/florist near Ward. Thank you to Dennis and Wanda for your kind and generous donation of smoothies and teas! The team was now ready for the last leg of the walk thru town! Once the sun came up, you could see the fatigue set in for the walkers, they had been walking for over 10 hours at that point. The humidity was intense and the walkers trekked thru downtown Honolulu. Their last rest stop was at Washington Middle School, where they stretched with foam rollers, got a bite to eat and drink and moved on for the last 3-4 miles.
Amazingly, almost 80% of the people who started the walk, finished. Some had to leave for different reasons but their participation, commitment and heart is greatly appreciated and valued! I have never experienced such drive, and perseverance in the presence of such physical strain before. I am in awe of each of the participants of Hilina'i's Walk. Your love for our family, Hilina'i, and the families you represent will never be forgotten.
The group arrived at Variety School approximately 15 hours after they began (about the same amount of time as last year). We were greeted by Mr. Yee (Head of Variety School) and welcomed in. Tommy's mom and sister (Kalani) provided a food for everyone there...thank you so much!
Stay tuned for a list of Hilina'i's Walk 2011 participants! Including Tommy's dad, Tommy Sr. He just had open heart surgery 5 months ago and insisted on walking the entire walk. He started a few hours before the group and finished before they got to Kamehameha Shopping Center! Simply amazing!