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2 Punahou students run charity race to perfection

By Lee Cataluna

LAST UPDATED: 2:26 a.m. HST, Dec 14, 2010

The idea came to them so effortlessly that they never stopped to think they might not pull it off.

Last summer, track team friends Maya Grossman and Tama Fukuyama were running through Manoa Valley when inspiration struck.

"While we were stopped at a red light, Tama just randomly blurted out, 'Hey, we should totally put on our own race.' I didn't know whether she was being serious or not, so I just said, 'Yeah, we totally should,'" Grossman said.

The two had just finished their freshman year at Punahou and, as incoming sophomores, didn't quite have the standing to pull off organizing their own race. They tried anyway, mostly just to see whether they could do it. Fukuyama wanted to make it a fundraiser for the Institute for Human Services. She had helped with the Thanksgiving meal at the homeless shelter, and the experience made a lasting impression. The girls decided to give all money raised by their race, which they called the Homeward Bound 5K, to the IHS general fund, which helps pay for things like the Iwilei shelter's electricity, water and food.


» When: Sunday, 7 a.m.
» Begins and ends at Manoa Valley District Park; a benefit for the Institute for Human Services
» Entry fees: $15-$30, free for kids under 5
» To register or for more information:

"Running is a major part of our lives, so we were very happy that we were able to use our love for running to give back to the community," Fukuyama said.

Last year's race drew 360 participants, and the girls raised $18,000 for IHS.

"I think if Tama and I had actually known how much work it was going to be, we would have been more daunted," Grossman said.

They had to secure numerous city permits to use the streets and the park and to set up concessions.

"The entire permit process is very lengthy and complicated because each permit has different due dates for when they need to be turned in," Grossman said. They also had to get insurance from the United States Track and Field Association, a notarized addendum from the Manoa Valley Board authorizing the race and put an official timing system in place.

Now they're doing it again.

"Last year was kind of a crunch, so we started our planning process earlier this year," Fukuyama said. The girls secured race sponsors with the help of parents and supporters.

The girls say race day last year was crazy, but in a good way. They were so excited and so busy.

"Last year, Tama and I were up basically all night dealing with last-minute details," Grossman said. And as soon as it was over, they thought, Let's do it again next year.

Lee Cataluna can be reached at


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