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Hawaii Events - Honolulu Marathon

One of the most popular events in Hawaii during the month of December has nothing to do with the holidays, Santa Claus, or decorations. Instead, this huge event brings athletes from all over the world for the annual running of the Honolulu Marathon, one of the largest marathons in the world. The 26.2 course stretches along Oahu’s southwest coast, starting near downtown Honolulu, leading through Waikiki Beach to Hawaii Kai, and finally returning to Waikiki for a grand finish at Kapiolani Park.

At 5am on December 9th, the marathon kicks off with fireworks, signaling to anyone around that the runners have started and the competition is underway. Each year, in excess of 30,000 runners ascend on Oahu for a few days of festivities prior to the race, including the always fun Runner’s Expo at the Honolulu Convention Center. Though the crowds are huge for the marathon, it is quite interesting to know that over 75% of entries come from one of the Hawaiian Islands or Japan.  

Though we love to see people that have trained for months run the marathon, watching the elite runners is incredible. The best runners in the world come to Oahu for the marathon, and as with any race, the elites are out to break a record, be it a personal record or the course record. In 2017, course records for men and women fell, making for an incredible feat. On the men’s side, Lawrence Cherono broke the record with a time of 2:08:27, while Brigid Kosgei set the women’s record with a time of 2:22:15! Both times are downright amazing and it will certainly be tough to beat those fast times.

For this year’s running of the marathon, approximately 35,000 runners are expected to run the marathon, making Oahu for the 4th largest marathon in the United States. A trip to Oahu for the marathon is well worth it, and even if you just watch and cheer on the runners, you can be part of the events. There are always entertaining runners on the course, dressed as Santa Claus, wearing suits, or even traditional Hawaiian dress. The runners that are out for fun can be seen just enjoying themselves, once the elite runners have left everyone in their dust.

We wish all runners in this year’s marathon good luck, and we look forward to cheering you on along the course.

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