Honolulu, HI. – As the countdown to the 45th Honolulu Marathon continues and the hotels along Waikiki Beach fill up with runners, all who assumed that the world’s most tropical marathon would once again offer balmy conditions are now digging into their luggage for any long-sleeve shirt they might have brought along by mistake.

Waikiki Beach

“Only twice before in race history have we seen conditions like this,” said Honolulu Marathon president Jim Barahal as temperatures hovered around the mid-60sF. “In 1986 when Ibrahim Hussein ran a course record (2:11:43), and in 2004 when Jimmy Muindi ran 2:11:12.”

The conditions Dr. Barahal describes are light north winds bringing dipping temps with low humidity. Typical December weather on the islands call for temps ranging from 76F – 87F, rarely falling below 64F, with winds predominately from the east.

Last year with light breezes replacing the traditional trade winds buffeting miles 11-15 along  Kalanianaʻole Highway heading to the marathon turnaround in Hawaii Kai, Kenya’s Lawrence Cherono and 2014 champion Wilson Chebet dueled below the 2004 course record of 2:11:12. Cherono became the first man ever under 2:10 in Honolulu with his 2:09:38 win. Chebet took second in 2:10:50.

Lawrence Cherono sets course record in Honolulu 2016

Both Cherono and Chebet have returned to Honolulu in 2017, Cherono coming off a 2:05:09 win in Amsterdam on October 15th, where Chebet dropped out at 30k with hip flexor difficulty. They will be joined early Sunday morning by Dennis Kimetto, the current world record holder (2:02:57, Berlin 2014), marking the first time in race history that the reigning world record holder in the marathon will race on the islands.  In 2012 Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang won Honolulu after Hurricane Sandy forced cancellation of the New York City Marathon. The following fall Kipsang broke the marathon world record in Berlin (2:03:23).

With conditions lining up as near ideal, a top veteran field assembled,  and two pace setters at the ready, who knows where the clock might stop come Sunday morning in Kapiolani Park.

I will be talking to all the top contenders, both male and female, over the next few days to hear how they are approaching the race. Till then, here is a look at the top marathon times run so far in 2017.


1. 2:03:32 – Eliud Kipchoge, Kenya – Berlin Marathon 9/24
2. 2:03:46 – Guye Adola, Ethiopia – Berlin 9/24
3. 2:03:58 – Wilson Kipsang (2012 Honolulu champion), Kenya – Tokyo 2/26
4. 2:04:11 – Tamirat Tola, Ethiopia – Dubai 1/20
5. 2:05:09 – Lawrence Cherono (2016 Honolulu champion), Kenya – Amsterdam 10/15

TOP 100 Marathon Performances

Kenya –      63 (7 of top 10)
Ethiopia – 27 (3 of top 10)
Japan –     2
Eritrea –  2
Uganda – 2
So. Africa, Norway, Morocco, Netherlands- 1 each


1. 2:17:01 – Mary Keitany, Kenya – London 4/23
2. 2:17:56 – Tirunesh Dibaba, Ethiopia – London 4/23
3. 2:18:31 – Tirunesh Dibaba, Ethiopia – Chicago 10/08
4. 2:19:47 – Sara Chepchirchir, Kenya – Tokyo 2/26
5. 2:20:22 – Brigid Kosgei (2016 Honolulu champion) – Kenya – Chicago 10/08

TOP 100 Marathon Performances

Ethiopia – 44 (3 in top 10)
Kenya –      35 (6 in top 10)
Japan –     7
USA –        5
Bahrain – 3
Australia, Portugal – 2 each

Aloha from Waikiki Beach.



  1. Excellent summary, Toni. I’m looking forward to further insights later in the week. Enjoy Hawaii; I wish I was there. New York weather is not ideal right now!

  2. I see you are ‘working’ in Honolulu this week, but didn’t see you ‘trackside’ last week when the lad from Ireland broke the Antarctic mile record. Are you cherry picking these race gigs?

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