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Great Aloha Run helps keep UH Hilo's cross-country team moving

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
Margot Schrire, (808) 956-6774
Director of Communications, University of Hawaii Foundation
Posted: Jul 18, 2011

HILO – Thanks to a generous gift the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo’s cross-country program’s fall season is bound to wow. Carole Kai Charities, Inc., organizer of Kaiser Permanente Great Aloha Run (GAR), donated $25,000 to support the student runners and has helped UH Hilo Athletics reinstate the women’s team.
The turnaround comes shortly after Head Coach Jaime Guerpo learned that the cross-country and cheerleading programs were to be suspended for two years due to budget cuts. “We are so thankful to Carole…we may have had to hang up our shoes completely if not for the passion and generosity of one of Hawai‘i’s biggest health advocates,” Guerpo said.
“I was touched by Jaime’s dedication to the program and with that kind of dedication, you know that the program is going to be strong and vibrant,” GAR President Carole Kai-Onouye said.
The Vulcan women will compete in a five-race season consisting of the UH Hilo Invitational, the PacWest Championship and races hosted by Brigham Young University-Hawai‘i, Chaminade University and Hawai‘i Pacific University.
UH Hilo Director of Athletics Dexter Irvin credits Coach Jaime Guerpo with the team’s reprieve. “He knows the situation the department is in and accepted the challenge to keep the program running despite the loss of operating and scholarship funds, as well as his salary,” said Irvin.
Guerpo enters his 13th season in 2011, coaching an entirely new team made up of six walk-ons – two from the Big Island and one each from Nevada and Nebraska.
UH Hilo launched cross-country in the 1980s. The program was suspended during the 1989 and 1990 seasons under similar fiscal conditions and re-instated in 1991. Since then, the Vulcans claimed three conference championships and were consistent participants of post-season races. Guerpo was named PacWest Cross-Country Coach of the Year. He also coaches the men’s team.
If you would like to support the UH Hilo Athletics Enrichment fund please visit or contact Andrea Furuli at or (808) 933-3112.
The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. Our mission is to unite our donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i’s aspirations to benefit the people of Hawai‘i and beyond. We do this by raising private philanthropic support, managing private investments and nurturing donor and alumni relationships.
The University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is a comprehensive university with five degree-granting colleges, six master’s programs and four doctoral programs. UH Hilo strives to integrate culture and science, offer hands-on learning opportunities to its students and use the Island of Hawai‘i as a natural learning laboratory. Enrollment has doubled since 1980 to over 4,000 students coming from all 50 states and more than 40 countries. Please visit