As one of the oldest and most well-known dirt roads on the Big Island, Mana Road has upheld the reputation of being the epitome of off-road racing, attracting the island’s most fleet of footed dating back to 1970.
With its signature red dirt stretching 43 miles across the base of Mauna Kea, the road offers an unbelievable scenic adventure and travels through open ranchlands with plenty of challenging uphill climbs, fast technical descents and rugged terrain.
Wild turkeys along with families of wild pigs are often found wandering off in the distance through pasture so lush and green one might imagine it will lead them to the famous Emerald City of Oz. And on a day with good weather, it becomes impossible to believe that this dramatic contrast of colors — blue skies, luxuriant verdure and red earth — is right in our backyard.
On Sunday, the Big Island Road Runner’s Club continued the tradition by hosting the Mana 10s, featuring a 10-kilometer and 10-mile off-road running race. With Hurricane Iselle hundreds of miles away and Hurricane Julio veering off away from the islands, racers were treated to perfect racing conditions and an abundance of sunshine.
In the signature 10-mile event, Alastair In blazed the course and finished with a fantastic time of 1 hour, 4 minutes, 13 seconds. Following In was Stephen Hunter in 1:08:52, with Kailua-Kona’s Jason Braswell outsprinting Jon Jokiel for third in 1:09:51. Jokiel finished a few strides back at 1:10:04.
Waimea’s Sylvia Ravaglia had a close duel with Kailua-Kona’s Karlyn Pipes, with Ravaglia holding off Pipes, 1:18:35-1:18:46. The race for third place also ended up being a fight to the finish for Susannah Roy (1:21:10), Kristiana Van Pernis (1:21:18) and Grace Sousa (1:21:18).
Andrew Langtry, defended his title in the 10K event with a fast 38:57 – 3:38 faster than his 2013 finish. Next was Laupahoehoe’s Alan Ryan in 40:43, followed by Richard Egley.
Due to a mishap with some of the finish times, a few participants went unrecorded, but former Hilo High running star Carmen Garson-Shumway won the women’s division. Second went to Ada Benson in 48:54, followed by Jamie Hirai in 49:14.
Meanwhile, the waters were calm and smooth in Keauhou Bay for the 28th annual Alii Challenge, a 6-mile open water swim won by James Spencer in 2:24:35. Not too far behind was Jim McCleery in 2:31:35, and Rob Murray in 2:43:05.
Staci Studer (2:47:15) topped the podium in the individual women’s open. Braylene Jones followed in second at 2:49:00 and Dene Sturm was in third in 3:11:50.
Keoni Smith, 19, took the Youth division with his time of 2:36:45, with 14-year old Cody Ranfranz in second at 2:50:30.
In mixed open, Nathaniel Goodell and Krista Anderson finished first with their combined time of 2:24:00.