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Those strong winds we've been having proved a challenge for some participants in the 29th annual Kaiser Permanente Great Aloha Run. Tens of thousands battled the unusual elements Monday morning.

Runners faced winds whipping up to 40 miles-an-hour with some gusts up to 50-miles-an-hour - sidestepping palm fronds and flying debris along the way.

Well before the 2013 GAR began, the signs were all there that this would be a windy one! Organizers even had huge trouble getting the starting line sign up.

"I can't remember the last time that we've had winds like this," said Nicole Lamb, the race starting line director. "Rain, yes, but not winds."

Almost 22,000 entrants braved the breezy conditions. "The wind was blustering and gustering!" said one runner.

They also endured the pre-dawn chill. Well, what WE call chill (69 degrees at race time). "It's kinda cold!" exclaimed another racer.

Plenty of rubber hit the road as shoes pounded the pavement. It also soared above the crowd - as a team of participants raced with balloons. "What is that thing? Is that a caterpillar?" asked one bystander.

The annual eight mile run snaked from downtown all the way to Aloha stadium, and some wore protection from the wind, it seemed – wearing Darth Vader and Ghostbusters costumes, even a gas mask.

Others gave it a thumbs up and took it in stride. "I'd rather have it cool and windy than hot and muggy," says five-time race runner, Tony Padua. "You know, this is, it's perfect!"

And a certain weatherman we know was ready for anything. "I was more afraid it was going to be wet, but winds, I can deal with, especially if it's coming from the back. Hopefully, we're good," says Hawaii News Now weatherman, Ben Gutierrez.

If you'd like to see more of how these runners handled the elements, we've got dozens of pictures in three slideshows on our website, Hawaiinewsnow.com

So, until next year's Great Aloha Run, as the old Irish blessing goes: May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back!

Source: Hawaii News Now