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by Slavica Hansbrough, staff writer

 

The 8.15 mile Great Aloha Run started at Aloha Tower in downtown Honolulu and ended at the Aloha Stadium, following historic Honolulu Harbor, Nimitz Highway and Kamehameha Highway along the way. HPU cross country team has a tradition of winning, and this year was not an exception. Brian Lindberg, a student at Hawai‘i Pacific University as well as a member of HPU’s cross country team placed first. His teammate, Dany Malley, came in second.
“ I don’t know if I expected to win,” Lindberg said. “I was hoping to win and I knew I was in a good shape and that it was possible to win. My training has been very good the last couple of weeks, and a lot of people told me that I could win so I started to believe in it.”
This was not the first time HPU runners dominated the Great Aloha Run. Todd Iacovelli won last year, and Christian Madsen in 2007.
Men’s cross country team coach, Christian Friis, said what his expectations of the race were. “We had so many guys running so I knew there was going to be someone there. I had four guys from the current team running: Brian, Dany, Kevin Enriques, and Jon Cleghorn. They all placed well. There were also two alumni runners, Brandon Laan and Todd Iacovelli.” Wendy Darling, Whitney Pitman, Jamie Torres, and Amanda Tanchaleun from HPU women’s team also participated.
Most of the runners train on their own during the off season because the regulations forbid coach Friis to train them. Dany Malley explains how he prepared. “I took a big break right before the race,” Malley said. “I had bad shin splits all the time and I took some time off to see if my shins would get better, and they did. Then I started training and I had one this compared to the University races,” Lindberg said. “In a fun run, like Great Aloha, you are just running for yourself. In the University races you are running for the team and the school, so there is more pressure.”
Malley saw it a little differently. “This was my first race with this many people. This one had 20,000 people and the biggest race I did before had 1,500 people. This race was motivational because I saw that I had to beat more people. I wasn’t nervous at all. The more people the better.”
In 2008, the men’s team won the Pacific West Championship and came in sixth at the NCAA West Region Championships. The women placed second in the PacWest and 11th at the NCAA Championships.
Coach Friis said that the runners from his team are in shape all the time because they train by running in the streets, parks, and trails. They are very responsible, even during the off season. Brian Lindberg is going home to Denmark where he will continue his career after this semester.
“ Right now I'm training for the summer season starting in June in Denmark. I haven't really prepared for the race [Aloha Run] specifically because I'm focusing on being ready for the summer season in Denmark,” Lindberg said.
HPU cross country teams have several events coming up. “We have a few races coming up but the goal is the Jamba Juice 5K in early May,” Coach Friis said. “We are getting quite a few new runners in the next season. Dany is just a freshman so he has three more years to get better,” Friis added.
The new season starts in the fall and cross country teams continue to improve and bring successful results to HPU.

 

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