The Kona Marathon takes place every year on Big Island in Hawaii. It began in 1994, with founders Jim Lovell and Jon Kunitake and their goal to “revitalize running on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii.” Over two decades later, Kona has perfected the island marathon form and feel drawing over 2,000 participants each year. From the course lined with beautiful scenery, to the creative finishers medals, it has garnered a reputation as one of the leading destination events in the country! Competitors can choose from the marathon, half marathon, quarter marathon or 5K. In keeping with the Aloha spirit, the course allows 8 hours for completion, giving even those who walk the course a chance to cross the finish line. This weekend runners of all ages and abilities took in surf, sand, beautiful views, and some running along the way!
At 5:30am and a nice 75 degrees, racers began their 26.2 mile journey along the property of the Waikoloa Beach Resort on the Kohala Coast. Temperatures stayed below 85 degrees, and slight winds brought a nice ocean breeze for runners. The other events also went off without a hitch, culminating in a tropical party at the finish line near the Queens Marketplace.
Locals swept the awards stage this year with Kentaro Masuda winning the marathon overall at 2:52:21, and Bree Wee taking gold in the women’s division with an impressive 3:08:01. The half marathon overall winner, Rodrigo Moretti and 5K winner John Marrack, also live in the Aloha state.
Marathon visitors didn’t just stick to running though. From volcano exploring and swimming with manta rays to the race’s own health and fitness fair, this Hawaiian paradise proved again to exceed expectations both on and off the course.
Besides their title as a renowned destination event, the Kona Marathon is also known for their philanthropic efforts. Over their 24 year history they have raised over 19 million dollars in total for local and national charities.
Planning for next year is already underway, which will mark the 25th anniversary of the race. So if your idea of a Hawaiian getaway is taking in some of the main island’s most scenic views on your way to the finish line, this the racecation is for you! Check it out and save your spot for next year at Athlinks.com.
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