Maui Paradise Marathon & Half
3rd Sunday in September, Maui, HI, 5 AM start. Also run in January, May and December.
App and info: Click on Maui above.
Julie Miller sez: Sure it's a steamy, sultry 91 degrees and 90 percent humidity. Sure it starts at 5:30 a.m. for the half and 5 a.m. for the full marathon. Sure the course runs right next to the highway, which the race organizers cone off, but don't close. But the Maui does everything it can to make this a pleasant Hawaiian holiday.
First, the race is limited to 2,000 runners in the marathon, and 1,000 in the half. The full marathon starts in Kahului, near the Maui airport, and runs through cane fields, down the center of the island until it hits the other side. There it runs northward along the Pacific Ocean on a slightly downhill course, which flattens out as you hit Lahaina.
This year, the organizers added a half marathon, which sold out in August. They offered a sweetheart of a deal if you signed up in February - two people can run for the price of one - which meant that the entry fee for the half was only $40 for two people. The half marathoners start in the dark, at 5:30 a.m. in Whaler's Village in Kaanapali. There's plenty of parking, lots of porta-potties for the 500 runners waiting at the start line. Half marathoners run point to point, from Whaler's village, past Lahaina, and then run back.
The marathoners by this time have left by a bus (or drove themselves) to Kahului, for the 5 a.m. start. The course is provisioned with water, Gatorade, and defizzed, diluted coke. There's some entertainment in the form of hula dancers, and ukulele playing. They hand out iced sponges at several points along the course. Along the route, you are rewarded with a palm tree lined route and views of the Pacific Ocean ending with a trip through the historic old seaport village of Lahaina.. The course is provisioned with water, Gatorade, and defizzed, diluted coke. There's entertainment in the form of hula dancers, and ukulele playing. They hand out iced sponges at several points along the course.
Crossing the finish line, you are rewarded by platters full of fruit, whipped cream covered strawberry frappicinos, jamba juice smoothies, and other goodies. The medal for both the half and full features a die-cast cut out whale - to remind us that we had a whale of a good time in Maui.
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