Once Outrigger Canoe Club moved to its current location at the foot of Diamond Head and across the street from the beautiful Kapiolani Park, running began to take off. Canoe paddlers cross-trained by running the flat lands around Kapiolani Park and then took to the hills around Diamond Head. Some ran for their health (recovering cardiac patients), others for exercise, and others because it was a new competitive sport they could do as individuals. Outrigger’s early runners were Bill Brooks Jr., Andy Homan, Jerry Ober, David Alexander and Fred Hemmings Jr.
Brooks organized the runners and began keeping mileage charts in the locker rooms for members to record the mileage accumulated over runs. They aimed for 1,000 miles. Outrigger runners wore out hundreds of pairs of shoes recording nearly 300,000 miles by 1985. The most miles recorded were by Kent Davenport who topped out at 40,000 miles.
The Club held its first road race on November 9, 1969 when a group met at 3 a.m. and embarked on a run that started at the Honolulu Zoo entrance, through Kahala, Hawaii Kai, Waimanalo to Pali Highway, across the Pali to Bishop Street, and down Ala Moana Boulevard to Kalakaua Avenue and a finish at the Zoo entrance. The race was a relay that included Yama Chillingworth, Gil Hicks, Fred Hemmings Jr., Mike McMahon, Bill Head and John Zeaszeas. A total of six teams competed and Outrigger finished fourth in 3:56:51 for the 38 miles.
Running became an organized sport at the Outrigger Canoe Club in 1972 when the Club entered a competition sponsored by the Olympic Club of San Francisco to encourage and publicize the sport of running. The idea was to see how many miles each club’s runners could chalk up during the month of October. OCC had 21 runners compete in the program with a total mileage run of 2,313 miles for the month, a daily average of more than 71 miles for all runners, and a daily average per runner of 3.38 miles. Some Outrigger runners chalked up as much as 12.35 average miles per day! In 1973, the OCC runners ran 2,302 miles with an average mileage per man of 104.6, winning first place.
Running was here to stay at the Outrigger.
Outrigger’s first marathoner was Jack Scaff Jr. who entered the Boston Marathon in 1973 and finished the 26.2 mile course in 4:16. Later that year, Scaff went on to help create the Honolulu Marathon which has become the largest marathon in the world with 30,000-plus finishers each year. Scaff also started and ran the Honolulu Marathon Clinic where for many years where he has trained runners for the marathon each Sunday morning in Kapiolani Park. OCC members began entering the Honolulu Marathon in droves in 1975. The fastest Honolulu Marathon times turned in by Outrigger members are 2:39:26.9 by Henry Richmond in 1977 and 3:08:20 by Rachel Ross in 2011.
Other early Club marathoners were Jan Newhart, Sue Stricklin, Morton Mandel, Bill Stricklin Jr. and Sr., John Stricklin, Bill Burgess, Fred Hemmings Jr. and Bruce Ames.
Outrigger sponsored a Honolulu Marathon Aid Station for 25 years from 1975-1999. The Aid Station was located on Kahala Avenue at mile marker eight on the outbound course to Hawaii Kai, and mile marker 23 on the return course to the finish line at Kapiolani Park. Led by Cline Mann, more than 100 Club volunteers staffed the station each year, setting up at 3 a.m. and handing out water, sponges, sports drinks and encouragement from 5 a.m. until the last runner finished some 15 hours later.
Once they got started running, members entered biathlons, triathlons and marathons in Hawaii and around the world.
A number have entered the oldest marathon, the Boston Marathon. Runners who have completed the Boston Marathon are: Hugh Murray, 2:41:26, 1981; John Cheever, 3:10:45, 2001; and David Stackhouse, 3:10:46, 2001. Women who have finished the Boston Marathon are Rachel Ross (3:03:53, 2013) and (3:04:59, 2014); Katherine Nichols (3:04:59, 2014), (3:13:08, 2011), (3:50:30, 2012); Candes Meijide Gentry, 3:25:03, 2008; and Laurie Sloan, 5:18:11, 2008.
Although competitive running was in their blood, Outrigger members got their juices flowing in a variety of fun runs and competitions where they could enjoy themselves and encourage non-serious runners to join them.
One of the OCC Running Team highlights is the annual Hana Relays held in September each year on Maui. The Club has entered men’s, women’s and mixed teams since 1987 in the 54-mile run from Kahului to Hana. The Outrigger teams are highly competitive and have brought home many medals.
The Annual Christmas Day Tantalus Invitational Run began in 1983 and circled the 10.2-mile Tantalus Loop. Another group of OCC runners welcomed in the New Year each year beginning in 2000 with a run on the 9-mile Maunawili Trail. They left at 7:30 a.m. from the Pali Highway trailhead and finished in Waimanalo.
Family runs and hikes have been held in recent years that welcome walkers and runners of all abilities to enjoy the beautiful scenery of our island home on trails that traverse the mountains and the coastlines.
You’ll find Outrigger Canoe Club members in the weekly 5K and 10K runs that abound in Hawaii. Our runners come in all ages, sizes and skill levels. Check For the Record for more of our results.