For many people, vacationing means relaxing poolside with a mai tai in hand. However, others choose to go a different route. Rather than lounging by the pool, these travelers get their hearts pumping, scrounging for the last bit of energy to reach the finish line.

Destination marathon runners are probably the fittest travelers out there. They tap into the terrain of a place through the soles of their shoes, logging major mileage in urban cityscapes and rolling hillside topography. While not your typical touristy getaway, destination marathons can be just as rewarding.

Many runners choose to lace up and hit the pavement in Hawaii, for obvious reasons. The warmth and sunshine make for ideal running conditions all year round. Plus, who doesn’t want to come to Hawaii? The tropical sights and surrounding ocean would refresh any runner looking for some motivation during the race.

Each major island in Hawaii has its own marathon. On Oahu, there’s the Honolulu Marathon, while Kauai is known for its annual Kauai Marathon that takes runners through the famous Tree Tunnel. Thousands look forward to running up and down volcanoes on the Big Island and Maui. These include the Big Island International Marathon and Kona Marathon, and then on Maui, there’s the Maui Marathon and Half-Marathon.

Breath in the overwhelming scent of eucalyptus and crisp air when running through Kauai’s tree tunnel.

For those not into doing a full-on marathon (traditionally, 26 miles), there are smaller ones that can be just as rewarding. Look for local community runs, like the Hawaii Pacific Health Women’s 10K, or the Great Aloha Run.


  1. The marathon runners are a breed to themselves. Each runner has a bucket list of marathons like London and New York that they want to compete and finish. Personally I think the Kauai Marathon that takes runners through the famous Tree Tunnel would be one to add to the list and a bit more enjoyable than freezing cold New York.

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