Momilani Elementary School's Fit Factory was humming right along over the long Presidents' Day weekend. In the 31st Annual Great Aloha Run on Monday, 12 third- and fourth-graders from the school's Fit Factory completed the 8.15-mile course in a group record time of 2 hours and 8 minutes — about 18 minutes faster than the group's finish time from the 2014 race.
The Fit Factory at Momilani was founded in 2009 by teacher Masaru Uchino (2015 Leeward District Teacher of the Year) for third-graders, and expanded to include fourth-graders in 2010 when teacher Dawn Kanoho became a Fit Factory coach. The group’s main goal revolves around the concept of discovering one’s individual ability level. Each member is encouraged to compete against their own self, rather than to focus on competing against other students. Each member of the Fit Factory is treated as a team member, and a positive team mentality is emphasized at every group workout.
As an after-school fitness group, Uchino says the Fit Factory runs twice a week on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. This school year, 34 students are part of the Fit Factory. There is no cost to join the Fit Factory, but students are given the option to purchase a team T-shirt which is designed each year exclusively for the Momilani Fit Factory. Students are also encouraged to participate in any of up to six different public running events such as the Great Aloha Run, or the Keiki Great Aloha Run.
In fact, two days earlier on Valentine's Day, 24 students from the Momilani Fit Factory participated in the 1.5-mile Keiki Great Aloha Run around the Blaisdell Center.
"This 'easy' run was a good introductory event aimed at getting kids excited about health and wellness," said Uchino. "Many of the Fit Factory students who participated in the Keiki Run comented that it was a fast, short and easy run." Uchino says the Great Aloha Run also donates the $15 Keiki Run registration fee for students back to the school as a donation.