Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Honolulu Marathon thanks to Bibrave's BibRavePro ambassadorship. You can learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro & check out BibRave.com to find and write race reviews. As always, all opinions, typos, and silly pictures are my own.
When we crossed the finish line we were handed a shell necklace right away. Then we walked further into the finisher area and picked up our cotton finisher t-shirt and medal. It was a pretty smooth process.
The medal is about the size of my palm so it's not the biggest medal I have, but not the smallest one either. I love how it perfectly represents Hawaii and even though the sponsor (JAL = Japanese Airlines) is on the medal, it's not the main focus of the medal. I hate when races do that!
The Start/Finish Line
The starting corrals are different in the fact that they do not assign corrals. You just line up using the honor system and the signs they have posted showing about where you should stand if you plan on finishing in the 4 hour range, the 5 hour range, and so on. We lined up towards the back of the 5 hour range.
The finish area was in Kapiolani Park. There were vendors selling more race gear, food tents, the finisher shirt tent, the medal tent, and even a GIANT Jumbo Tron which was on a time delay so you could watch yourself finish the race!
We saw so many people running in costume during the race. We saw a bride and groom, Japanese Anime characters, Hula girls, and even a man and woman who did the Tango the whole race!! (Yes she had a red dress on and walked backwards!)
The weather was definitely in our favor for this race. I know you all already know, I'm not a hot weather runner. But who could pass up the chance to run a race in Hawaii with NO time limit?! Not this Ginger. As we walked out of our hotel we immediately noticed the light rain. I remember thinking to myself that I never even considered checking the weather because, you know, it's Hawaii! So I was pleasantly surprised to have the light rain. It rained off and on for about 75-80% of the race. Thank Goodness! Around mile 19-20 the sun came out and that's when I started to really slow down. It would have been a super long day if the sun was out the entire time!
I can't remember what mile we were at but we did have some strong winds but they didn't last long.
All finishers got a cotton t-shirt, a medal, a malasada, a shell necklace, and our bib.
I kinda wish the bibs were a little more fancy being as they are pretty plain, but with over 31,000 runners and the fact that they even let people sign up for the race at the expo, I understand why they would want to keep them simple to keep costs down.
During the expo I had a goal of meeting a couple people. One of them was Fredrik who works with the marathon marketing team and does social media. I asked a few volunteers if they knew who he was or where I could find him and no one seemed to really know. Finally I just sent him a message through Twitter and 10 minutes later we were chilling in the expo!
It was great to finally put a face with a name being as we had been tweeting back and forth for several months leading up to the race! I was totally expecting him to look like a Native Hawaiian but turns out he's not. He's a tall, thin, white guy with an Aussie (I think) accent!
The expo was definitely big enough for all the runners and vendors and really easy to navigate. It was also easy to get to from our hotel so that was nice.
She's a totally cool chick who is super relaxed and fun to talk to. I wish we could have stayed and talked more about running and everything but her booth was very busy selling out of belts so I let her get back to business! If you ever see her at an Expo be sure to stop by and say hi!
We ended up finishing in 6:24:00.
I really think we could have finished in under 6 hours even with our run/walk method but we had a few stops on the course and I'm pretty sure they were 10+ minutes due to long lines at the bathrooms.
This is a huge race! It had over 31,000 runners and even though there are 26 miles to spread out, you never really spread out. You have to be on your game the whole time to make sure you don't bump into people. You've been warned!
The first few miles of the race are in the dark and have you running around downtown Honolulu. We saw a lot of businesses decorated with large Christmas light displays which made the race feel fun and festive!
The course takes you along the shore line not too far from Diamond Head and there are a few opportunities to see the ocean. It was so beautiful! What was even more beautiful, was seeing all the green mountains off in the distance with the low rain clouds hanging around. It gave the race a cool ambiance and backdrop that made everything feel all majestic and stuff! Don't even get me started on the fact that we saw a rainbow during the race. I almost died!!
Around mile 19 or so I hit the wall. Our walk breaks got a little longer and our running was a little shorter. I was still having fun and the volunteers were still cheering loud and proud. So overall I was doing ok! I've just come to the conclusion that marathons are just hard! I have one more full marathon planned in 2015 and then I think I'll retire and stick with half marathons. We'll see!If full marathons aren't your thing, and you want to run a race in Hawaii, the same race organizers hold the Hapalua Half in April.
I seriously can't recommend this race enough! If you are looking for a special race for a milestone or an anniversary you MUST. DO. THIS. RACE!
The course, the scenery, the fireworks, the rainbow, the ocean, the list goes on and on!