Runnin’ with Rani: It’s Official: Full Lavaman Waikoloa Run Gets Green Light

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It’s time to party because the “Best Triathlon Party” is back!

The 23rd annual Lavaman Waikoloa Olympic Distance Triathlon event scheduled for Sunday April 3 has been given the green light to return to the shores of Anaehoomalu Bay as a full race event with live music, awards ceremony and finishing with the best post -race party in triathlon.

The festive weekend will once again feature a series of events beginning with the Lavaman Sunset 5K on Friday (01/04/22), LavaKids Aquathlon on Saturday (02/04/22), Sports & Fitness Expo (Friday and Saturday), and Sunday’s Marquee event – ​​an Olympic distance triathlon featuring a 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run.

Lavaman founder and race director Gerry Rott said she was almost “bright” upon hearing the news of Mayor Mitch Roth’s Feb. 28 announcement to end all COVID-19 health restrictions. in Hawaii County, effective immediately.

“I’m so thrilled,” Rott said. “It’s been a long time coming and we’ve been ready three times before we had to cancel. The fourth time is the charm. We were ready to go, to do it with all the COVID restrictions and protocols and we would still have had a good race, but now we’re back as strong as we should be.

Rott said it was just two weeks before Mayor Roth’s announcement that she had received approval from Hawaii County to host the April 3 event based on the COVID protocols she had to put in place. in place. Some of those protocols included proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test, indoor masking, social distancing in departure and arrival areas, and other CDC-recommended restrictions.

Then, in a press release issued on February 28, Mayor Roth announced the end of all emergency rules related to COVID-19, including those governing the size of social gatherings indoors and outdoors. outside. This announcement marks the first time in two years that the Big Island has not put emergency rules in place due to COVID-19.

Rott explained that before Mayor Roth ended all emergency COVID-19 rules, his popular Lavaman Triathlon event was carefully planned so athletes “just run and go.”

“There was no contact at the finish line when we handed the athletes their medals and masks,” Rott said. “We weren’t going to have the beach barbecue buffet – it would have to be a confined lunch that we were handing out. No price reduction. We could always have beer at the finish line, but we couldn’t encourage people to stay.

“There would be no recognition of winners because after you got your prize you had to leave. Athletes would not be allowed to stay and celebrate what they have achieved and celebrate with the volunteers who have helped them achieve it. That’s another thing, lifting all these restrictions is really bringing athletes and volunteers back. »

Starting the rolling wave, however, is a protocol that will stick. Athletes will begin the 1.5km swim segment in waves of five athletes, with each wave five seconds apart. The age groups will also be separated from each other by five minutes.

“From what I’ve learned from other race directors who use rolling wave starts, it spreads the field very well and ultimately presents a safer race,” Rott said. “It expands swimming, which expands the bike segment, which also expands aid stations. It really makes the race less crowded.

Rott predicts there will be a total of 1,400 participants – slightly less than the 1,800 competitors in years past – but a total of 1,000 individuals and 125 relay teams. Anyone still interested can register for the event until March 15 on the Lavaman website www.lavamantriathlon.com.

The Lavaman Waikoloa Weekend kicks off on Friday, April 1 with the Sports & Fitness Expo from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. which will again take place on Saturday. Rott said that while the Expo will be “a little smaller this year” due to mainland vendors not being able to attend on such short notice, the Expo will showcase local businesses around the island and will allow athletes to pick up their race packages. Friday afternoon will end with the classic Lavaman Sunset 5K Run at 5:15 p.m. hosted by PATH.

Saturday morning will feature the Big Island youth with the highly anticipated Lavakids Aquathlon and Keiki Dash being held at the Hilton Waikoloa Village. Participants in the Lavakids Aquathlon will be limited to the first 100 registered. The Aquathlon Short Distance will be for children ages 7-11 and will include a 100 meter swim followed by a 1 km run. Children aged 11 to 14 can register for the longer 200 meter swim and 2 km run. There will be no stroke limit for the 100 yard Keiki Dash for ages 3-7.

Parents can register their child online at www.lavakids.org. The young athletes will receive a medal, a race jersey and a healthy treat.

And of course, Rott is always in need of community volunteers to help out in various positions on race day.

“We give donations to nonprofit groups that provide a minimum of 12 volunteers,” she said. “We could certainly still use more volunteers for the green team, which will be led by my daughter-in-law, Monica. She worked hard to move the event towards zero waste so that ultimately we can reduce our impact on the environment, we can reduce our footprint.

Other areas where Rott will need more volunteers are trained water patrollers, certified lifeguards, course guides for running and biking, the transition area, aid stations, and set-up and tear-down.

Regarding the upcoming 23rd annual Lavaman Waikoloa Triathlon event, Rott said, “The past three years have been such a disappointment and such a shock in changing our way of life – not just for Lavaman but for everyone. . For me, it’s like everything is opening up again and I’m excited.

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