SI Vault
Kenny Moore
October 08, 1979
During a 20-day race covering 500 kilometers—or 2� laps around the island of Oahu—the entrants experienced exhaustion, ecstasy and the execrable
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October 08, 1979

Hawaii Five Double O

During a 20-day race covering 500 kilometers—or 2� laps around the island of Oahu—the entrants experienced exhaustion, ecstasy and the execrable

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During the afternoon Scaff animatedly reported behind-the-scenes events. "The caterer thinks we're sandbagging him," he said. "He keeps saying, 'Are you sure you only have 36 people out there?' "

Dr. Ben Kuchar, 60, of Palos Verdes, Calif., normally blew his bugle for reveille at 5:30 a.m. Now he did it at 5 p.m., heralding the return of Shultz, who had been forced to stay on in Waikiki with an attack of diarrhea. He arrived wan and confused after a day spent on buses trying to find us. Over a dinner of noodles he grew stronger as he described a lifelong train of ordeals: his diabetes, his being in the wrong place at the wrong time at the wrong speed. "I had a motorcycle wreck nine years ago," he said. "Broke my back, hip, ribs, everything. My right leg is still an inch thinner than my left. But the running—ah, it's been a godsend, although I still don't know what I'm doing." This was observable. Shultz ran as he lived, with such force that his shoes tended to explode under him. He tried to put the resulting soreness and blisters out of mind, in much the fashion that he requested no novocaine when he had a tooth drilled. "Think about it," he said. "The really bad pain of a dentist only adds up to 15 seconds or so, but that horrible flabby numbness of novocaine lasts half a day." It was such a rational assessment of trade-offs that had led Shultz here. "I'd only been on my machinist's job a week when I left to try this thing," he said. "It's not worth worrying whether it'll be there when I get back."

Our seventh day, another 23-miler, would more than complete our first circuit of the island. It was a strangely paced run, Jones starting us off at his unchanging speed and then McCormack passing crisply at 11 miles. Henderson and I said to each other, "Now let's not go with him," but after a mile we went with him. Through the Kahuku sugar area McCormack increased the pace on every downhill. Despite a hot sun I felt good, but Henderson, heavier, needing more fluid, was in trouble by the 20th mile. He dropped back, the first time that we had not kept company through an entire leg. Cut adrift from his sensible counsel—that to last out the race required caution in the early stages, and that no matter if it felt as though we had been born on these roads, it was still early—I tossed my hat aside and took off past McCormack. For a couple of miles the lift of my 5:30 pace was exhilarating. Then, as heat-dizziness began to creep in, I had the sustenance of knowing the end was near. Indeed, there was a blue van 200 yards ahead. But as I watched, it started up and drove away—another misjudged end. For a mile I struggled on, furious, developing a bile-filled speech, which I finally delivered to Deuriarte, he nodding, abject, as I raged that that was never going to happen again. After two minutes of jogging recovery I was back, abject myself, apologizing for my derangement. We ended up hugging, delivered into these wild swings of emotion by the chemistry of slight changes of pace. That day a kid on a skateboard had asked Scaff what he was doing. Scaff shouted, "Give me your food!" grabbed the kid's Fritos and ran on.

We were on Ehukai Beach, site of the Banzai Pipeline with its renowned tubing waves. We sat on the sand and watched the surfers and shared bits of our day. A little poodlelike dog had come yapping out of a yard after Lieutenant Dave Benson, head of the Honolulu Police Department's Traffic Enforcement Division, who ran with us on selected days, but before it reached him a car hit it. "A lady ran out," said Benson, "and said, That dumb boy. I told him to tie that dog. Now I make him dig one hole!' "

Here at Ehukai we feasted on mahi-mahi Florentine and pineapple/lichee/cherry salad. Half a dozen Japanese women from the Shiatsu massage school arrived and went to work on us. Now the race leader on elapsed time, I was escorted to the sensei (the professor) who is head of the school, for his special treatment, which, because he had to catch a plane to Maui in an hour, consisted of hurried stretches, twists and snaps of delicate regions, including the horrifying act of rubbing my kneecaps around in circles as though they were scouring pads. In five minutes the professor was on his way to the airport. Bruised, I watched Henderson slide into blissful unconsciousness under the tender and careful touch of a masseuse named Kathy, who soothed him for an hour and a half without going near his kneecaps. "Wait'll I tell the guys they threw in a massage" said Mittman.

The next morning the vans took us to the cool, fragrant glades and soggy parrots of Waimea Falls Park. Peacocks wailed as we breakfasted in misty rain on papaya slices from silver platters. We departed on our run just as an oldtime revival got going in a big park tent. Shultz missed the start. He was singing hymns in the service.

It was only a 13-mile day, and now we were retracing our steps. Certain fields and vistas were familiar to the point of nostalgia. Henderson, rejuvenated by his rubdown, tied with McCormack and Peck for the leg, two minutes ahead of Erb and me.

In the golden light before sunset, Donna Scaff and her three sisters, all raised on Molokai, passed around lengths of splashy red cloth and taught us how to wear them as Polynesian lavalavas, requisite dinner dress. Afterward, Jack Scaff and I walked in the sea, a more salubrious massage than the manipulations of the Shiatsu.

We remarked on the good cheer of all our adventurers. "These are special people," he said, "because they're self-chosen, doing this for the only good reason—that they want to."

I smiled, because in the competitive division the rigor was mounting. Our mid-race rest was two days away, but first we again had to cross roadless Kaena Point and then run through the cane fields to Pearl Harbor. Because I could be expected to put my track-runner's speed to the test on that last day, Henderson's strategy concentrated on Kaena Point, where his cross-country gifts might either get back a lot of my 13-minute lead or make me run so hard that my effectiveness on the morrow would be cut.

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