Ready, set, here comes the Honolulu Marathon

By Rachel Kamita, Staff Writer

The Honolulu Marathon returns on Sunday, Dec. 11, with participants coming from all over the world.

The Honolulu Marathon is the fourth-largest marathon in the U.S., attracting around 30,000 participants each December,” according to the Honolulu Marathon website. “We are unique in that there is no limit on the number of participants and there is no cut off time, therefore attracting both fast runners as well as walkers”

There are people that spontaneously wing the marathon and then there are people who have been training for this marathon months in advance to be able to run their fastest in the 26.2 mile (42.2 km) race.

“I had been running three times a week, three to four miles each time from almost two months when I started the training for the Honolulu Marathon,” said Huilan Kamita, an avid runner who will be looking to complete her second Honolulu Marathon this December. 

The question asked to many dedicated runners is why? “Why do you choose to run a marathon?” and for many runners the answer is to challenge themselves. They want to see how far or how fast they can go, they want to keep in shape, they do it because they love to run.

The Honolulu Marathon course records are Kenya’s Jimmy Muindi’s 2:11:12 in 2004 and Russia’s Lyubov Denisova’s 2:27:19 in 2006. The fastest wheelchair participant was Japan’s Masazumi Soejima with 1:29:22 in 2006.

With only a few days left in the countdown for the race, there will be a lot more runners coming in and getting ready. From 2012 through 2015, more than 30,000 runners from all over the world have participated in the marathon. Nearly half of those entrants are Japanese, giving this race another unique feature. 

Kenyan runners have dominated the elite part of the race of late. Kenyan males have won the last nine marathons, while Kenyan Joyce Chepkirui is the two-time defending champion.

This year will the be 44th Honolulu Marathon that runners will be able to enjoy. The starting line will be on Ala Moana Boulevard near the IBM Building. The race will start at 5 a.m. with a fireworks show. Runners will then weave toward downtown before turning back on Kapiolani Boulevard. They will then run through Waikiki on Kapahulu Boulevard, go around Diamond Head and run toward Hawaii Kai, turning around near the Costco and coming back by Diamond Head before ending in Kapiolani Park.

There is no parking allowed in or near Kapiolani Park after 7 p.m. the night before the race. Unauthorized vehicle will get tickets and towed away. Do not park in Ala Moana Beach Park and Kapiolani Park because they will be only for vehicles that have authorized vehicle permits by the Honolulu Marathon.

Runners start heading over to the event and looking for parking as early as 1 a.m., sometimes earlier. There’s be a free bus that will take runners from the Honolulu Zoo’s parking lot all the way to the starting line on Kapahulu Avenue. The bus will start at 2 a.m. and the last will be at 4 a.m. It is recommended that runners should try their best, if using the bus to get to the race, to get there before the last bus just in case there is no room.