City Councilmember John Heilman and a group of city employees will hit the ground running tomorrow in the 26.2 mile Honolulu Marathon.
The group includes City Manager Paul Arevalo; David Wilson, the city’s director of Finance and Technology Services; Janet Jimenez, assistant to the city manager; Bobby Safikhani, management specialist; Francisco Contreras, manager, Innovation and Strategic Initiatives; Long Thu, assistant civil engineer; John Keho, Community Development; Claudia Duncan, financial management analyst, and Jim Duncan, systems engineer supervisor.
A group of nine city employees including Arevalo and several other participants in this year’s race ran last year in the Team to End AIDS (T2) half-marathon in Hawaii as “Team WeHo” and raised $42,000. City Hall has assembled a team every year since 2001.
“For the last six months, we have been training at Griffith Park on Saturday mornings,” Heilman said in an email message announcing his participation. “For some of our longer runs, we started at 6 a.m., sometimes in the complete dark. All of us are running to support the crucial work done by AIDS Project Los Angeles … APLA provides food, housing assistance, dental care, case management and a host of other services to people living with HIV and AIDS.”
“When you think of Honolulu, you probably think of swaying palm trees and enjoying the beach, but the Honolulu Marathon is a completely different experience,” Heilman said. “We start the run at 5 a.m. and the course takes us up several hills, including several miles up Diamond Head. The conditions are hot and humid. which is less than ideal if you are running 26 miles. For part of the run, we are on a highway that is closed to traffic. There are no cheering crowds, just a bunch of very tired runners struggling uphill to get to the finish line.”
Readers can make a tax deductible contribution to any of the runners, with the revenue going to APLA, by visiting the Team to End AIDS website and entering the name of the runner you want to support.