- 13.1 miles/Half Marathon
- Road Race
The joys of living on the west coast means easier access to Hawaii! I as finally able to get out and run Hapalua and cross Hawaii off my half marathon list. I was able to fly out Friday morning before the race and still get in by 1 PM Hawaii time. I stayed at one of the Hilton resorts, but wish I would have stayed closer to the start/Finish area on Waikiki.
After getting settled at the hotel and a shake out run in, I went over to the Expo at the Hawaii Convention Center. This is the same location for the Honolulu Marathon Expo, however, the Hapalua Expo is on a smaller scale I feel like. Bib numbers were emailed out a few days prior to the expo, but there were bib look up areas just in case. After getting your bib, you went to a second table to get your shirt and bag. They also had a table with clear bags for you to write your bib number on if you planned on using bag check on race day. There were some local running stores, Hapalua Race Gear and some other smaller vendors to check out.
Saturday, there was a shake out run in Kapiolani Park, where you could meet the runners participating in the Chase: Hawaii runners vs Elites essentially. Good way to get loosened up before race day!
Start is at 6 AM. Not bad when you're still on PST and feels like 9 AM, though I still had about 10 alarms set. Again, if you're traveling in for the race, stay closer to Waikiki. I walked a good 1.25 miles to the Duke Statue, where the start of the race was. The Chase this year had a 24 minute handicap, so some runners started around 5:36 AM, with varying starts up until 5:54 or 5:56 this morning. The elites started at 6 AM with the rest of us. Plenty of porta potties at the start, though I didn't have time to get a pre race drink of water.
One thing that needs worked on though is the start. It's kind of a hot mess. There's no division of runners and no corrals, which actually makes the first mile difficult. There were walkers at the front and people who were inappropriately placing themselves faster than they were, so faster runners were trying to not run over other people. If there could be some sort of corral system like for the Honolulu Marathon or other races in general, it would make life a lot easier.
The Course is fairly flat for the first 9 miles or so. You start in front of the Duke Statue and head along Kalakaua Avenue to Ala Moana Blvd and the Nimitz Highway. You pass Ala Moana Beach Park, the Harbor and Aloha Tower before turning and coming back some on King Street. You make some turns and double back on Ala Moana and it's kind of fun seeing runners come towards you. If you time it right, you can see some of the chase happening on the way out on Ala Moana Blvd. Over the next few miles, you end up back on Kalakaua Avenue and you get some crowd support there. You pass the Duke Statue and head towards Waikiki and Kapiolani Park. Here, you pass the 9 mile mark and start making the trek around Diamond Head. Be ready for some hills/incline because you don't realize how much there is until it's there. Or, like me, you forget what the hills were like during the Honolulu Marathon because you chose to forget that part of the race. You have some pretty decent incline from miles 9 to 10, some downhill before heading back up again at mile 11 for about half a mile. After that, it's all downhill along Diamond Head. The last part of the race takes you along some neighborhoods and into Kapoilani Park, same finish as the Honolulu Marathon. You were greeted with medals and water misters (so needed). Afterwards, when I was walking back to the hotel, though, you could see more than a bunch of walkers still on course who had to move to the sidewalk as traffic opened back up.
Weather: you could cut the Humidity today with a knife. That, plus the 70* + weather, I was having some flashbacks to the 2010 Chicago Marathon. Be prepared and hydrate well a day or two before the race.
Post Race: plenty of medals, food (read frozen ice drinks, Malasadas, etc. Mainly, Malasadas), water, pineapple juice and more. Could we get some chocolate milk though?
Water Stations on course: It felt like every 2 ish miles or so, give or take. I felt like they needed more because it was so hot and humid on course. Hard to stay hydrated when the water stations are so spread out.
Overall, a fun race. I'd come back for Hapalua in a heart beat. Just gotta work on the start and the aid stations!