Honolulu, HI. — The Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon is quite a mouthful for a race name, especially when you consider it was born out of the long-standing and short-named Honolulu Marathon. But with over 6100 entrants signed up for Sunday’s fourth annual Hapalua, the event, and its name, seems to have stuck.
“From a creation point of view, we did something different,” said Honolulu Marathon Association president Jim Barahal. “We created a half-marathon from scratch, and branded it with its own name standing alone from the Honolulu Marathon.”
Not that that was the original idea. At first, Barahal considered a linked name that he thought lent itself to a logo with its own cache. Thus, the Honolulu Marathon Half Marathon would be branded as HM Squared.
“That was an interesting brand,” thought Barahal, who has been president of the Honolulu Marathon Association since 1987. But when he got a little deeper into the project, Barahal Googled the Hawaiian word for half, and it turned out it was Hapalua. That’s when he said, ‘that’s an even nicer name’.
On top of which, no one had ever used the word Hapalua in any context before, because in Hawaii the word people use for half is Hapa, which is the diminutive of Hapalua.
“I don’t think anyone knew there was a longer word,” laughed Barahal. “It took me about two minutes on the phone with an attorney to trademark that name, and we decided not just piggyback on our marathon.” Continue reading