- 6 miles/10K, 26.2 miles/Marathon, Other
- Road Race
See more of our race!
I clearly love Honolulu and Hawaii in general, but who doesn't!! This race has been on my bucket list and I was excited to finally cross it off. It was a perfect trip and race to cap off a busy fall before heading into the holiday craziness. If you sign-up early you can get a good deal on this race and stalk flight sales! We were able to get flights from the W. Coast under $400 and there are some surprisingly affordable places to stay in Waikiki if you look in the right places. AND, you can also eat/drink more reasonably than you would think (hit me up for tips if you need them!).
It's an early 5am start but for us mainlanders it's not bad with the time change. They have shuttles from Waikiki if you are staying there but we stayed near the start so popped down there just 30-min before race-time. Similar to my tip on Merrie Mile if you are on the speedier side I recommend seeding up front. My corral was blue (2nd corral) of 3:30-5:00 finishers so it was a wide range so i made sure to stick to the front.
The start kicks-off with a bang and lots of fireworks. It's not just one boom and you start. The fireworks continue for like 5-10 minutes! So...beware those trying to watch or take video :) Be alert of your surroundings and runners in front fo you.
It's quite manageable with only 2 hills around 8 and 24 up and over Diamond Head, but with only approx 100 ft of gain they weren't too bad (just make sure you save enough at the end for that mile 24 climb). The rest was fairly flat.
Aid stations and volunteers were amazing!!! Lots of aid stations, LONG aid stations with color-coordinated cups (green Gatorade, then white for water). There were cheering dead zones but when you did hit cheer zones the Japanese tour groups were a delight! There were also at least 2 sponge stations that I remember which was also much needed.
Nice flat straightaway...it seemed like it was going on forever =D But once you cross the finish the finish chute is a very quick exit, which is a nice change of pace to other large marathons that make you walk a mile post-finish. Here, you immediately get your medal and go through sprinkler showers which feel amazing in the Hawaii weather. Then you walk to the finish area and it's festival style. So you don't walk through lines/congestion to get all your stuff, you walk to the finish area in the park.
At first I wondered why they didn't have the lines to hand you your stuff as you move through. But afterwards I liked the set-up because I could sit down (aka lay down exhausted) and recuperate a bit before mobilizing to go get food/drink (malasadas!!! and the most amazing coconut water I've ever had!! also bananas, etc) and your finisher shirt, or stand in line to take pics (vs. back-up in the finisher chute due to pics, etc.). I'm always dying to sit for a bit right after I finish so I liked this style because I could do that immediately! And you aren't caught in that awkward "i'm trying to carry everything all at once but don't have enough hands" situation. I also got to just lay there and hangout for almost an hour post-finish and never felt overly crowded which was also nice for a race this size.
Post-race we walked down the street to lay on the beach, which has to be one of the best non-official perks of this race! Everyone in Waikiki has their medal or finisher medal on so it makes for a fun atmosphere.
The expo had a mix of US and Japanese brands which I found interesting to explore. You can get in and out fairly fast. Monday there's also an option to get a finisher certificate and meet the winners. We didn't stop by but saw a lot of people that did.
I also love that this race gives you a feeling of a semi-international race experience (40% of the field is Japanese) without having to travel out of the country, etc. I'm thinking we'll be coming back again for this one :)