Honolulu, HI. – Over the first five Hapalua Half Marathons, Team Hawaii runners are up 3-2  against the pro chasers. Tomorrow morning, the sixth running, The Chase will on again.

The Chase is the unique racing format designed by Honolulu Marathon President Jim Barahal.  22 local Team Hawaii athletes will be given a series of head starts ranging from six to 22 minutes.  Then they try to hold off the four professionals charging from behind.  The first runner across the line wins the $5000 first place check, with an additional nine places earning paydays.

Hapalua pro Chasers Abraham Kipyatich and Philip Tarbei with Toya and Team Toya runner Buddy Russell from San Diego

This year’s pro chasers include Kenyans Philip Tarbei and Abraham Kipyatich of Run Czech Racing, along with 61-minute Yuki Yagi of Japan, and 2013 IAAF Women’s World Championships Marathon bronze medalist Kayoko Fukushi also hailing from Japan.

The men will run scratch while Fukushi will light out six minutes in front along with Team Hawaii runner Ben Wilson who finished third in 2015. Last Year Kenya’s Isabella Ochichi had seven minutes in hand and won by 1:01.

The lead Kenyan Kipyatich ran sixth last weekend in the Prague Half in 61:03.  For context, in 2014 Peter Kirui came here off a 59:22 in Prague and ran 64:08, which remains the Hapalua course record.

Tarbei Tarbei and Kipyatich studying Hapalua splits from 2016 in Outigger Reef lobby

Tarbei is here essentially to pace for Kipyatich as it is his first ever international race. I showed them the last two year’s splits, so they know that other than Kirui’s 64:08, guys have run 65:05 to 65:38 here at Hapalua. That’s 3:00/km or 4:50 pace (15:00/5K). I think they are in that shape.

Team Hawaii’s Evan Dehart


Favorites on the Team Hawaii side are Evan Dehart, 31, of Oahu. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Evan ran Cross Country and track on a partial athletic scholarship at University of Cincinnati.  After graduation in 2009 he moved around the country working as a construction project manager, all the while continuing his passion for running.

Married just over a year, Evan and his wife recently bought a house in Mililani after appearing on the HGTV show Hawaii Life. His PRs are 10k: 32:39, 1/2 Marathon: 1:09:51, Full Marathon: 2:35:43.

“I’m in better shape than when I won the Hibiscus Half last year in 1:16, but not yet in peak shape.”

Evan will start with a 10 minute advantage on the pros

Katie O’Neil, 31, Oahu

Team Hawaii’s Katie O’Neil

Raised in Boise, Idaho, where she won the 2003 Idaho State 1600m title, Katie ran in high school with U.S. 800 meter Olympian Nick Symmonds. She next ran at Stanford for two years, before switching to rowing due to injury. She was a member of the 2009 NCAA championship rowing team.

Currently a high school chemistry teacher at Mid-Pacific Institute High School where she also coaches cross country, paddling, and track, Katie has got back into running over the last three years.

Notable Results:
* 1st Hawaii Resident at 2014 and 2015 Honolulu Marathon
* 38th woman at 2014 NYC Marathon
* 1st, 2014 and 2015 Hilo 1/2.

Katie finished 10th in the 2016 Hapalua. Her 17-minute head start netted a 66:39 Chase time.

Team Hawaii’s Maritza McAuley

Maritza McAulay, 27, Oahu
Maritza McAulay grew up in Southern California where she ran for Cal State L.A. There she won the 2011 CCAA conference championship in the 10,000 meters . 2017 will be her second time on Hapalua’s Team Hawaii.

“Last year I felt more pressure, because I didn’t know what to expect. This year I’m more relaxed, but also excited. I’ve been training well. Last year I ran 58 minutes at the Great Aloha Run in mid February. This year my time was 51 minutes.”

Maritza will be in group E with a 20 minute head start.

“They caught me at the 12 mile mark last year going up Monserrat,” she said, “one Kenyan on neither side of me.”

Hapalua Pro Chaser Kayoko Fukushi (right) with fan in Kapiolani Park

The favorite this year points to Japan’s Kayoko Fukushi, who turned 34 a few weeks ago, and has a playful spirit about her. Not to say she’s a lightweight. Kayoko remains the only Japanese woman to go under 15 minutes for 5000m, has  run sub-31 minutes on the track for 10,000, and holds the Asian record for the half marathon at 67:26 from back in 2006. Last year she’s on thecOsska Ladies Marathon in 2:22:17 to qualify for the aril Olympics.

I will join the crew in the lead vehicle, and begin a  Periscope app streaming video once the sun rises. The male professionals will begin at 6 a.m. local time, which is 9 on the West Coast and noon eastern time. Hope to see you then.


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