Courtesy of Maui Ocean Center

Jon and Arlene Emerson started as passionate runners with a timing business — timing everything from swim meets to Oʻahu’s Nike 5K for Kids. But when Nike left the state of Hawaiʻi in 2009, the 5K left along with it, and the money it raised for local schools disappeared. Jon and Arlene were saddened to see these schools miss out on this financial support and took it upon themselves to organize a similar event to expand physical education and fund athletic programs for Hawaiʻi’s keiki. 

The couple jumped to action and launched the Honolulu 5K the following year. After establishing their vision, they moved their race to Maui in 2012, and the Maui 5K was born. To date, the Emerson’s have donated an incredible $95,604 to Maui Nui schools in just ten years of hosting the event on Maui. 

Getting keiki motivated to spend some active time outside can be challenging with so many distractions demanding their attention, but it’s not impossible. Kids are still kids, and by reminding them how much fun playful movement can be, we can inspire them to lead more active lives. The Emerson’s continue to hold this race each year to promote a happy, active, and healthy lifestyle for the future of our island. 

Maui Ocean Center, the title sponsor for the Maui 5K for the third consecutive year, encourages families to lace up their sneakers and get moving for a cause that benefits schools across the county. Runners and non-runners alike are welcomed back in person for the 11th annual Maui 5K Run and Walk on Sunday, March 6, 2022. Participants can choose to take part in a timed 5K run/walk or an untimed 1-mile walk, and each registrant can indicate which school they’d like to support on their registration form.

Providing access to physical enrichment for our keiki is crucial to their development and overall health, and the Maui 5K is the perfect opportunity for families to get some energy out and spend time outdoors, all while supporting Maui Nui schools.

Visit to register today.