The race of her life

By Seti Afoa ,

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Sixty-two year old local Sushi business woman Teine Kihara (pictured) ran the race of her life at Lalomanu on Saturday. She came third overall in the 60+ Ladies’ 10km race, and she was very happy with her effort.

She should be, the commitment to race in the 3rd Lalomanu Half Marathon event meant a lot of sacrifice and hard work over twelve weeks of training and forgoing the usual pleasures of life. In the process, she lost 15kgs from her frame and she feels on top of the world.

Her story began three months ago when she came across the Lalomanu race on the internet. Some hesitation, just a little, but Teine knew in her heart this race was for her.

She set out to walk every day. That graduated to a trot, and then a shuffle. All three running styles made an appearance on Saturday in the hot and difficult race.

Why did she do it?

“It’s the history of my own life,” she said. “Kids are grown up, I have to move on and do something better for my life.”

“I wanted something new. And I feel a new me with a lot of weight that I lost since I started training in April.”

“I feel so light, I am now choosy with the type of food I eat.” Alcohol also was off the drinks menu. Though Teine celebrated her success after the race with a tipple.

Not only did she train hard but Teine got out there among the business community to seek support in her record breaking effort. Companies like Lucky Foodtown, Chan Mow, Funway Rentals, Susana Samoa and other businesses helped with funds to pay for Teine’s accommodation at Lalomanu.

Samoa Events donated the entry fee of $60 as it does with all local runners that do not have the funds to pay entry fees. She also bought her running gear and shoes with the donated funds.

Teine’s goal was to run the 5kms. But two weeks out, she was challenged to double the distance and enter the 10km race.

Before she said yes to the 10km race, Teine and her trainer Samasoni Nimarota travelled to Lalomanu the week before the race to see if she could cover the distance. The 10km distance runs between Taufua Beach Fales and Saleapaga fjord. It is a return walk/run to the ford and back. Yes, she could.

But it was a different feel on race day. She was out of breath very early on. Fortunately she had two good friends, Lee Purcell and Sone Eshraqi follow her all the way in a car. Still Teine found it hard particularly at the half way mark.

She was struggling. But she found a running friend in one of the Glen Eden runners from Auckland who stopped and walked and ran with her all the way back to Taufua Beach Fales. Teine and Andi Billington, 71yrs, are now best of friends.

Andi and her husband Rex, along with ten other friends travelled especially to Samoa to race the annual Lalomanu Half Marathon. The oldest in the group is 77 years and the youngest 68 years. They all finished the race.

After crossing the finish line Teine was ecstatic with her achievement.

“It was a very tough race. It’s the first time I have run in a competition.”

Teine hopes other Samoan women will come and join her in the race next year.

Fifty-two competitors ran the Lalomanu Half Marathon race on Saturday, mostly from overseas. Only six local runners competed in the annual race this year.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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