Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run Partners with HWPO Training to Benefit Hawaiian Youth

September 12, 2023 by
Image Credit: Instagram @ultimatehawaiiantrailrun
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September 16th marks the 10th annual Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run, held on Omano Track in Kauai, Hawaii. This is the Keala Foundation’s largest fundraising event and marks a decade of community, health, and support for Hawaii’s youth. 

Morning Chalk Up has covered the event extensively over the years, but there are some new additions to the 2023 festivities, marking new connections and experiences that will undoubtedly encourage even larger numbers of participants far and wide. 

Remind me: In an article published earlier this year, Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run founder Aaron Hoff reflected on his childhood in Kauai, and how his exposure to drugs and alcohol at a young age was the norm for many youth living on the island and still is for many current-day children of Kauai.

  • “We don’t really know anything else, and there is no alternative. So you’re just being walked right into a slaughter house growing up,” said Hoff.

By the time he was 23, he had cops looking for him, men flying to Kauai from other islands looking to kill him because they believed he had stolen their drugs. He was struggling to survive and eventually he became suicidal.

Twenty five years later, Hoff is now sober, runs four non-profit CrossFit gyms in Kauai and is the founder of the Keala Foundation, an organization aimed at helping Hawaiian youth use CrossFit and fitness to get fit and healthy, get clean, or ideally, avoid using drugs or alcohol in the first place.

Throughout the years, the CrossFit community has played a large role in raising more than $2.5 million dollars for the foundation via the Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run. 

The CrossFit connection: Hoff told the story of how the partnership formed between CrossFit, the race itself and the Keala Foundation and how it initiated with Greg Glassman.

  • “The first involved was Greg Glassman. He was the first one. He came over here — and I’m really good friends with the family — and I showed them and explained to them what was happening,” said Hoff. 

In time, more connections were made with legacy athlete and former Games champion Jason Khalipa as well as aerobic capacity expert Chris Hinshaw. 

In an interview with Morning Chalk Up in 2021, Khalipa shared his feelings on the event. 

  • “The UHTR is truly something special. The energy, impact, and beauty of the event is on a level you can’t find anywhere else. What Aaron and the team accomplish for the event is only matched by the impact they are making on the youth of Kauai. The team is selfless and dedicated to improving lives,” said Khalipa.

Among those participating and volunteering, one can often see veteran CrossFitters peppered into the crowd including Chyna Cho, Dan Bailey, Stacy Tovar, Sam and Jenn Dancer, Chandler and Jessi Smith, Will Moorad, as well as many more, spreading awareness for the event and the foundation. 

The full experience: The run will be held September 16th, including a GORUCK division, where runners will carry a 20 or 30 pound sandbag. Additionally, there will also be a golf tournament on September 13th, and a silent auction, where regardless of one’s location, people can join and bid virtually on items and experiences. 

New this year: On Saturday, September 30, anyone worldwide can register to be a part of the Ultimate Hawaiian Challenge, which is a CrossFit workout programmed by HWPO Training. One can register as an individual, team or with their entire gym community. Ten percent of all fees will go to the Keala Foundation. Additionally, with a $40 registration, the following will be included: 

  • Ultimate Hawaiian Challenge Shirt 
  • Opportunity to win giveaways and exclusive fun from UHTR partners 

The team with the most participants will win a bike from Assault Fitness and many other prizes that the whole community can enjoy.

Registration for the challenge is now live. Read more about HWPO’s new partnership this year with the Keala Foundation, in their most recent blog post.

The bottom line: Whether running, golfing, or rucking in Hawaii, one can support the Keala Foundation by buying a shirt, making a donation, and participating in the Ultimate Hawaiian Challenge. Read more about the Keala Foundation and the giant impact that it has made on Hawaii’s youth.

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