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Run a marathon while on my Hawaii vacation?!
While some would scoff at the idea, there are some tourists who base their travels around marathons. Destination marathons have become their own niche market in the travel industry; one of the more popular Hawaii destinations would be the Kauai Marathon & Half Marathon.
Every year, hundreds of runners from near and far flock to the Garden Isle’s south shore. The race starts on Poipu Road, fronting Poipu Shopping Village, and goes for 26.2 miles through a beautiful, tropical paradise of lush green vegetation.
But don’t let that fool you into thinking it will be easy. This is one of the hilliest marathons around; from what I’ve heard, the initial eight-mile uphill can be the most grueling. But because it takes you right through the famous Tree Tunnel, there can really be no complaints. The scenic experience through a cool, tradewind atmosphere is what the marathon’s most known for.
In fact, so many visitors fly to the island specifically for this race, marathon coordinators organized shuttles to take participants to and from the airport and hotel. Those looking to rent a car should go through the marathon rental car partner, Avis, for deals.
These pictures were taken by my boyfriend’s father, Juan, whose house is right along the marathon’s course. After running up through the Tree Tunnel, they cruise down Omao Road, where the long, winding downhill can be just as painful on the joints; however, encouragement by residents standing streetside always makes it a bit more bearable.
The same could be said for any part of the course; cheering, singing and hula dancing are not only unique to the marathon but uplifting for participants as well. They’re a reminder of Hawaii’s gracious island hospitality and the spirit of aloha that’s alive and running!
Photo Courtesy: Juan Myers
• Every August • www.thekauaimarathon.com