Wahine winner basks in aloha at Big Island International Marathon
Wherever she ran, Barb Adams saw signs of aloha.
Maybe that’s why she couldn’t reach her goal of breaking three hours and 30 minutes at the 20th annual Big Island International Marathon.
The Vancouver, British Columbia resident placed in 3:31:52, finishing as the first female runner on Sunday and soaking in the warm welcome from the race’s legion of supporters.
Before the race, Adams went on Facebook and saw the history of the Final Four — Cowman, Marie Kuramoto, DJ Blinn, and David Hammes — the only runners to complete every Hilo marathon.
Starting off, she ran into Kuramoto, Hilo’s ageless wonder, and received a nice little energy boost.
“I said, ‘Are you the lady who’s finished all the races?’ And she encouraged me,” said Adams, who’s on the Big Island for a family vacation with her husband Tim Raabe and parents Bruce and Rosemarie Adams. “My mom saw the Hilo marathon and said, ‘You might enjoy this.’ And she was right.”
Earlier, Adams and Raabe completed the Kalalau Trail run on Kauai. Raabe is a trail runner and a spectator and spouse supporter at marathons.
At one point, he told his wife she was in second place. She said, “No way.” Adams kept running for a personal record in her seventh marathon.
“It was a wonderful experience,” said Adams, who’s a school teacher and Raabe a bike mechanic. “I saw so much aloha from the volunteers. The marathon was amazing, the scenery was special, and I appreciated the course markings (at each mile). And the energy was amazing here. It was amazing to watch the sun come up over the ocean.”
She’s run four marathons in Canada, where the summer climate is an annual average of 70 degrees. Adams, 36, competed in two marathons in Washington state. About a decade ago, she did her first marathon.
“I’ve always been a runner,” she said. “At 25, I did my first marathon. Then I stopped and got back into it. I found that when I train properly and eat healthy you can see improvements.”
A little while back, Adams took part in the Pacific Crest Trail, which is 2,659 miles and ranges in elevation from above sea-level at the Oregon-Washington border to 13,000 feet at Sierra Nevada.
It’s not a trail for the timid. Adams hiked roughly 1,000 miles in six weeks. Running in Hilo’s paradise was comparably a piece of cake.
“That definitely helped my marathon time,” she said.
Adams couldn’t stop extending her gratitude to everyone from the race organizers to the volunteers to her fellow friendly runners. She also enjoyed the Taiko drummers at the finish line. She noted there’s a Taiko drumming community in Vancouver.
The best vacations are always the most memorable. And for Adams, her Hilo vacation came with a nice gold medal, too.
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