- 8 miles
- Trail Race
This is the first race of the Hawaiian Ultra Running Team (HURT) trail series each year. Held in March close to St. Patrick's Day, the race usually features the St. Patty's Day theme.
A small, locally hosted race, they cap registration to about 100 people and advertise it as a 7ish mile race (my Garmin recorded well over 8 miles). They don't do t-shirts or any kind of expo, but that also translates to a low registration fee ($25) which I appreciate since race registration fees tend to cost me a lot of money each year.
I wasn't sure what to expect since this was my first HURT trail series race. I was both impressed AND humbled! The local trail runners who came out to race the course which is a mix of wide dirt trail and single track hills all in a forest were a talented group, and the race course was quite challenging.
I was familiar with 4.5 miles of the course since it's one of my local trail running spots, but the extra areas of the course that they threw in was all steep single track hills off the beaten path. That kept a local like me guessing which was I found frustrating during the race. But only because I hadn't trained properly. HURT is proud that it changes the course each year to include different parts of the trail, so now I appreciate that next year there will be a bit of mystery to the course.
The HURT trail series starts with this Aiea Loop Express and then culminates its season in the HURT 100 mile ultramarathon, so it builds on distance and course difficulty with each race. Since the series is put on by ultramarathoners, they have a feast at the end that has put all the other races I have done to shame. They had BRISKET!!! Other food stars included several different kinds of meat, potatoes, other carbs, a couple types of fruit, and all the packaged kind of snacks that you would expect at a race (granola bars, etc).
If you're a local or happen to be on island when this race goes, I heartily recommend it. Be prepared for a friendly, casual vibe as most of the runners know each other, and look for the man playing the bag pipes at the top of the first hill.
Note: The only reason there is 1 star for the t-shirt/swag listing is because this local race doesn't offer any t-shirts or swag. I don't consider this a bad thing since this keeps the registration fee low.