MAALAEA - Pacific Whale Foundation's annual Run and Walk for the Whales will take place on Saturday, Feb. 1, with a new start and finish location at the Maalaea Harbor Shops.
This year's race includes a 2.5-mile walk, 5K run, 10K run and half-marathon run.
The event is a fundraiser to support humpback whale research in Hawaii and other parts of the Pacific, marine education programs for local schoolchildren, as well as conservation programs, including efforts to prevent vessel-whale collisions, end whaling worldwide and keep marine debris out of the ocean.
One of Maui’s largest fun runs and walking events, the Run and Walk for the Whales attracted more than 700 visitors and Maui residents last year.
Race directors are excited about the new location for the race in Maalaea.
"The easy-to-follow courses are mostly flat and fast - good news for runners...," said Erica Gorman, race co-director.
Post-race festivities will take place in the plaza at the Maalaea Harbor Shops and include live entertainment by Marty Dread; a post-race continental breakfast for runners served by Porto; tours of Pacific Whale Foundation's research lab, education center and offices; and discounted whalewatches for race participants.
The entry fee includes professional chip timing for runners in the 5K, 10K and half-marathon, plus clock timing for all walking events. Each walker and runner will receive a Run and Walk for the Whales quick dry T-shirt. Water and Gatorade aid stations will be located along the course.
Medals and a pair of whalewatch tickets will be awarded to each of the top three male and top three female overall finishers in the 5K, 10K and half-marathon.
There will also be medals presented three deep for the 5K, 10K and half-marathon male and female age divisions.
Register online for the race at www.flpregister.com/69. Additional race information can be found at mauiwhalefestival.org/events/2014-run-and-walk-whales.
The race fees are: half-marathon, $55 ($70 for late registration from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1); 10K run, $45 ($55 for late registration); 5K run, $40 ($50 for late registration); and 2.5-mile walk, $25 ($30 for late registration).
The deadline for online registration is midnight on Jan. 30. Entry forms are also available at Pacific Whale Foundation's offices at the Maalaea Harbor Shops.
Start times for the race are: half-marathon, 6:15 a.m.; 10K, 6:45 a.m.; 5K, 7 a.m.; and 2.5-mile walk, 7:05 a.m.
Pacific Whale Foundation's marine education team will be offering a morning version of its popular Ocean Camp on race day for children ages 4-12. The program takes place from 6 to 10 a.m. at PWF's Discovery Center in Maalaea. The cost is $35 per child and is titled "All About Whales." If mom and dad both want to race, sign up for this program in advance to ensure that your child has fun, learns about whales through a dynamic hands-on program, and is well-cared for by a professional team. Preregistration is required; call 249-8811, extension 1.
For those runners and walkers who cannot be in Maui for the Run and Walk for the Whales, PWF is offering the option to participate remotely in this event.
Run, walk, snowshoe, log in the miles on your treadmill - be active for the whales! Register for the Remote Run and Walk for the Whales, and you will receive your race T-shirt and race number by mail.
Remote participants will be invited to supply photos and details about their race for display on Pacific Whale Foundation's Facebook page. To learn more about racing remotely, visit www.pacificwhale.org/content/2014-remote-run-and-walk-for-the-whales.