Ups and downs, twists and turns, challenging … but lots of fun. Those words have often been used to describe XTERRA Trail Runs, and it is also an apt description for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.
The 2012 XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs is a benefit race for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maui. The event features a 10-kilometer course, a 5-kilometer course, and a free children's race. It is open to runners of all ages and skill levels, and every entry helps the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maui organization.
Several members of the program will race in the event on Saturday, October 27, including three siblings from Kihei, Maui: Tehilla, Penina and Yaakov Ben Gershom. Tehilla, 16, has been involved in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program for more than a decade; 11-year-old twins Penina and Yaakov signed up this year.
"I think it's an awesome program," Tehilla said. "I started when I was 5, so I don't remember much from back then, but it's a big part of my life now."
Rebecca Zeuch has been Tehilla's "big" with the program for the past 10 years. When Zeuch first volunteered for the program in 2002, she was single. She is now married with two children of her own, and Tehilla has grown into "the greatest aunty ever" for the kids.
"We've basically grown up with each other," Zeuch said. "We started with the Big Brothers Big Sisters and we're still a part of that, but it's gone beyond that. We really are family to each other now. I think it shows how tremendous this program can be and what a difference it can make - not just for the 'littles' but the 'bigs' like myself."
On October 27, Zeuch and Tehilla will participate in the Hula Grill 5K course of the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs. It will be their first race together.
"We've been running together a little bit to get ready," Zeuch said. "But we're doing it for fun and to support Big Brothers Big Sisters."
Tehilla's twin siblings will also run in the 5K race for the first time. "They have a lot of energy, so I'm sure they're both going to try and beat me," Tehilla said with a laugh.
Laura Wake, who is the "big" for Penina, joined the program this year and has enjoyed every minute. "It's volunteering, but you don't feel like you're volunteering because you really get to know the person you are matched with," Wake said. "It's been awesome."
Wake said the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs will be her first race. If anything, she said she is hoping it helps draw more attention to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maui.
"You can make such an impact in the lives of these kids," Wake said. "It really is a great opportunity to do something good, not just for the kids, but for yourself as well."
For more information on the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maui program, please visitwww.bigsofmaui.org.
To learn more about the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs or to register online, please visitwww.xterramaui.com.