For many Maui locals, the Kapalua Trail Run is an annual tradition and a great excuse to celebrate Hawaii's healthy lifestyle.
Every year, the employees of T S Restaurants - which include Hula Grill, Leilani's on the Beach, Duke's Beach House, and Kimo's - have a competition to see which restaurant is the fastest.
“It’s all about celebrating the healthy, active, outdoors lifestyle with our employees and our community,” said Tammy Fukagawa, Executive Vice President for T S Restaurants.
Now, the event has grown so much that employees from T S Restaurants created a race within a race dubbed “The T S Restaurants XTERRA Challenge” in which each of the four restaurants field a team of 5 runners; and the team with the fastest cumulative time in the 5K take home the coveted T S Trophy.
This year, the award for the fastest team went to Team Hula Grill, who won by two minutes and 15 seconds, which is the biggest spread in the history of the competition.
New this year was a "Fittest Restaurant" award as well.
"It is awarded to the restaurant with the most amount of participants per restaurant volume since some locations are larger than others," said Lisa Kerrick, a member of Team Hula Grill and one of the original organizers of the challenge.
"Team Hula took this title as well," said Kerrick. "This was a close race and it really did get our employees motivated to be a part of the event. This way, it's not just about the fastest runners. Because it really takes the whole team to push each other."
Other local competitors included the team from the Pa'ia Youth and Cultural Center on Maui's North Shore.
Organized by Brandon LaRue, who took the kids on training runs, the team from Pa'ia Youth and Cultural Center was all smiles after the race.
"The run was amazing," said LaRue. "It was very hot but the kids did great, and everyone was in high spirits. One of my teenagers got second place in his division, and the kids are already talking about next year."