Categorized | Multi-sport, Sports

Keauhou welcomes new Lavaman triathlon in September

Karin Stanton/Hawaii247.com Contributing Editor

For triathletes and triathlon fans who just can’t wait for the world championship in October, now there’s Lavaman Keauhou – or, as founder Gerry Rott likes to call it, the people’s race.

Hawaii Sports Connection, producer of the annual Lavaman Waikoloa, and Keauhou Resort have announced the addition of Lavaman Keauhou to the island’s race calendar. The inaugural race is Sept. 13.    

Lavaman Keauhou, an Olympic distance 1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run, is expected to draw 400 to 500 athletes, mostly from Hawaii, and traverse a course steeped in Hawaiian history. 

“Unveiling our second Lavaman race in Keauhou is thrilling for us. Over the past eleven years, Lavaman has dedicated its resources to upholding the tradition of great triathlons here on the Big Island,” Hawaii Sports Connection founder Gerry Rott said.

“The whole Keauhou area is very excited to have this race and really welcoming,” she said. “The golf course is opening up for part of the run course and for a speed golf tournament. Those are always fun.”

Elite triathletes, age groupers of all levels and relay teams will enjoy the debut of this scenic course. 

“It’s not going to be an easy course. It’s challenging, but it’s beautiful,” Rott said. “It’s really an age group race. But it’s fun to have a few pros in there every year.” 

Rott said she expects most competitors in the inaugural race will be Hawaii-based.

“I expect the majority will be from the state and the Big Island,” she said. “They really want another high-level race and they need them every couple of months. Lavaman Waikoloa opens triathlon season, and Lavaman Keauhou, scheduled the month prior to Ironman, will add tremendous excitement to end of season racing.”

Keauhou’s two-lap course also will offer more opportunities to see what’s actually going on.

“Spectators can see all aspects of the race if they stay right in the Keauhou area. You can walk from place to place and see the swim, bike and run,” she said. “It’s fun for the volunteers, for the families of the athletes and for the athletes. 

“This is the people’s race.”

Like its counterpart in Waikoloa (which is coming up quick on March 29), Lavaman Keauhou will include events for the whole family. Friday kicks off with the Lavaman Keauhou Expo that will include sport product and sponsor booths and race day packets. LavaKids take center stage Saturday with fun events and a special LavaKids Dash for those keiki under age 7. 

In keeping with Lavaman tradition, the weekend will include an awards party and banquet, complete with live music, great food and camaraderie for volunteers and athletes.

“The vision we have for lands of Keauhou reflects a deep cultural connection to the ancients who came before us,” said Greg Chun, Keauhou Resort president. “We are very supportive of Lavaman Keauhou and believe it will strengthen the ties of a healthy community.” 

Keauhou Resort is billed as a 2,400-acre fully integrated destination community. Kamehameha Investment Corporation, Inc., a subsidiary of Bishop Holdings, Inc. – the for-profit arm of Kamehameha Schools – is responsible for its cultural assets and planned development. Keauhou includes Keauhou Beach Resort, Sheraton Keauhou Bay Resort & Spa, Keauhou Shopping Center, two golf courses, timeshare, residential and resort condominiums and single-family residences.

Rott said the Keauhou Resort vision matched up with her efforts to bring another triathlon to the Kona Coast 

“It’s also the opportunity to incorporate the two Keauhou hotels in the event,” Rott said, “and bring the history of Keauhou into it. It will really showcase the whole Keauhou area.”

Keauhou was home to the original half-Ironman distance race, directed by long-time triathlon promoters Joe and Sharon Ackles. That Ironman qualifier eventually was renamed the Honu Triathlon and moved north to Waikoloa.

Founded seven years ago, Lavaman is fully sanctioned USA Triathlon Olympic Distance Triathlon. All USAT rules will be enforced. 

Founded on the underlying philosophy of supporting the communities that so graciously make these races possible, Lavaman support local charities by making donations to groups providing volunteers for the events. 

While the Lavaman Keauhou will not be an Ironman qualifier, Rott said she is grateful to the corporation’s support.

“It’s a very good relationship,” she said, adding that Lavaman Waikoloa has two Ironman slots.

Rott said, however, she relies most heavily on her team of directors, assistants and volunteers, who have all committed to doubling their work loads by adding a second race.

“I have a great race committee,” Rott said. “Everyone’s kind of good friends by now. It’s fun. Or we probably wouldn’t be doing it.”

— Find out more:

Lavaman Triathlon: www.lavamantriathlon.com  

Tentative schedule of events for Lavaman Keauhou 

Friday, Sept. 11:

* 3 p.m. – “Speed Golf Tournament” hosted by Kona Country Club. Also known as Extreme Golf, Fitness Golf and Hit and Run Golf, Speed Golf is a sport which involves completing a golf round in the lowest combination of strokes and time. Watch top triathletes compete with a nine iron. 

* 6 p.m. – Carbo Loading Party and Benefit Concert 

Saturday, Sept. 12:  

* 9 a.m. – LavaKids Clinics and Duathlon  

* 11 a.m. – Lavaman Sports And Fitness Expo at Keauhou Beach Hotel, official headquarters hotel of Lavaman Keauhou; Lavaman Registration, Keauhou Beach Hotel  

* 3 p.m. – Free training and racing tips talk 

* 5 p.m. – Mandatory pre-race meeting

Sunday, Sept. 13:  

* 6 a.m. – Lavaman Keauhou athlete check-in and body marking

* 7:30 a.m. – Race begins at Keauhou Bay

* 9:30 a.m. – Estimated time of first Lavaman Keauhou finisher, Keauhou Beach Hotel

* 11 a.m. – Lavaman Keauhou awards ceremony begins  

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