HONOLULU MARATHON, 13 DECEMBER 1998
Honolulu Travel Blog› entry 7 of 116 › view all entries
The 1998 Honolulu Marathon was my second marathon and by far my best! I placed 1,072nd out of 22,050 total finishers and 137th out of 2,117 males aged 25-29 with a time of 3 hours 41 minutes. I shaved off more than a half hour from my marathon time by learning some significant lessons from the previous year when I ran my first marathon in 4:11. Honolulu is a great location for a marathon and if you live there because you can train all year around. The course is very flat except for the "climb" up Diamond Head Crater Road hill between 22-23 miles of the 26.2 miles total, which is usually where many folks "hit the wall" and give up. I know the first Honolulu Marathon I walked up that entire hill with some German C-160 TRANSALL pilots from Luftgruppe 67 while passing by the Honolulu Hash House Harriers beer keg.
I think this was the first year they used "chip" technology to track when a runner actually crosses the start and finish lines, as well as certain splits. I also learned you have to line up on Ala Moana in front of the big mall ahead of the lines of people running perpendicular to the street waiting to use the row of last-minute port-a-johns. If you line up by your anticipated time markers, you will be severely delayed until you actually have room to take your first step, let alone to cross the start line. Once you are ahead of the lines for the bathroom, you can break out of the pack soon after the start line and begin your normal stride. I also learned to carry a "throw away" bottle of water for the first 5 miles so you don't have to stop in the bottleneck of people that will clog up the first two water rest stops.
Jenny came out to see me run by about 15 minutes after the start since we stayed at the Hale Koa downtown the night before which was also a smart move on our part. The race starts in the darkness of early morning so everyone can be off the street when it gets hot and sunny by 10:00. The crowds are very supportive and festive, but you also have some unusual sights: the Japanese celebrity who wears wodden thong shoes that go "clip-klop, clip-klop" for 26.2 miles (I passed him both years around the 10-mile marker), people wearing Santa, Christmas tree or gorilla outfits, and Japanese crowds flown in from Japan just to cheer on different colored flag groups with thier own rest stops. The thing I do not understand is why Japan/Nippon Air Lines (JAL) sponsors and runs a water rest stop at mile 26 in sight of the finish line at Kapiolani Park only .
I also learned from my 1997 Honolulu Marathon that I need to wait in line, no matter how long the line is, for the free leg massage after I cross the finish line. In '97, I skipped the massage line and had trouble going up stairs for a whole week afterward due to cramps and soreness. After the massage and a hot bath, I'm ready to run another marathon the very next day plus climb stairs!
The Honolulu Marathon sponsored by JAL does a great job. Having a water rest stop every 2.5 miles, even if I don't stop at all of them, is a good thing to have, especailly afte the sun comes up and it gets hot. The beautiful scenery and the huge cheering crowds make the Honolulu Marathon a good fisrt marathon location, but be sure to learn a few lessons about preparation of the mind before you start off on a 26.2 mile journey in less than 4 hours!