Honolulu, Hi. – With the continuing domination of East African runners, the task of connecting today’s pro runners to thousands of citizen runners is more challenging than ever.
This Sunday The Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon will contest its sixth running. Between 8500 and 9000 runners will participate, a bump up from the 7600 who ran in 2016, marking the fifth straight increase from the original 2000 who ran in the inaugural 2012 race.
But from its inception The Hapalua has established itself not just as another jog-a-thon following in the wake of a professional foot race. No, The Hapalua has been an industry innovator in the tricky sphere of athlete connectivity.
With its unique Chase format pitting four invited professionals against 22 of the islands’ top runners The Hapalua has found a way to make the competition world-class and locally relevant all at the same time. (more…)
Honolulu, HI. – At a time when interest in the outcome of elite races is struggling to connect with an audience, the Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon has designed a format that brings the world-class into competition with the local-class, while making hunters and prey out of all. In today’s version of the Hapalua’s unique Chase format, Kenya’s Isabella Ochichi used her seven-minute head start over scratch runners Patrick Makau and Erick Kibet to notch the overall win and take home the Hapalua title and $5000 top prize. Former marathon world record holder Makau and 61-minute half-marathoner Kibet finished together in 1:05:35, which was only good for fourth and fifth in the Chase.
The Hapalua Chase brings 24 of the islands’ best runners together as Team Hawaii to compete against four invited professionals. Team Hawaii runners get head starts, ranging from 23 minutes to six minutes, launching from Kalakaua Avenue in the heart of Waikiki Beach.
2004 Olympic 5000m silver medalist and two-time Honolulu Marathon third placer Ochichi completed the challenging Diamond Head dominated course in 1:10:37, besting Japanese pro Ryotaro Otani – who was given a three-minute cushion – by 59-seconds.
17 year-old Iolani High School senior Amanda Beaman finished third with a gun time of 1:25:23. But with a 20-minute head start the 2015 Hawaii state cross country and 3000 meter champion was able to just hold off fast closing Makau and Kibet who ran the entire distance side-by-side.
“It was fun,” said Ochichi in the sun-spashed post-race gathering. “You were running away from someone as well as running after someone.”
Two years ago Isabella came to the Hapalua, but was only awarded a five-minute advantage, which left her 1:10:24 gun time in only fourth place at the Kapiolani Park finish. Today, she caught Team Hawaii’s Amanda Beaman at 19K going up Diamond Head and cruised home the clear winner. (more…)
Honolulu, HI. — Former marathon world record holder Patrick Makau and 2004 Olympic 5000 meter silver medalist Isabella Ochichi, both from Kenya, have returned to Hawaii as the star attractions for Sunday’s fifth Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon. Organized by the Honolulu Marathon Association, the Hapalua features a field of nearly 8000 runners in 2016, 2000 of whom hail from Japan. Both categories represent significant increases in the rapidly expanding sister race to December’s Honolulu Marathon.
The Hapalua is best known for its unique Chase format in which Team Hawaiiconsisting of 20 top local runners from the islands are given a series of head starts ranging from 23 minutes to 6 minutes before four professionals including Ochichi, Makau, Ryotaro Otani from Japan, and Erick Kibet from Kenya, take to the chase.
Makau (PR, 58:52) and Kibet (PR, 61:10) represent the scratch runners in the field (Kibet more as a pacer to give Makau company in the early stages), while Ochichi (PR, 68:38) will have a six-minute advantage, and 25 year-old Ryotaro Otani (PR, 62:48) will begin at 5:58 a.m. a slim two minutes ahead of his Kenyan rivals. From there it is the first person across the Kapiolani Park finish line who will take home the $5000 first prize out of a total purse of $11,000.
Local runners won the first three Hapalua Chases, while Peter Kirui of Kenya finally took home the top prize for the pros last year in a course record 64:08.
2016 marks the third Hapalua appearance for Makau, whose 2:03:38 win at the 2011 Berlin Marathon stood as the world record for two years. In 2013 Patrick ran 65:28 at the Hapalua, but only finished 16th in the Chase format.
Makua returned to Honolulu in 2014, coming off a chronic knee injury that had sidelined him for the remainder of 2013 following a 2:14 finish at London Marathon in April. A the 2014 Hapalua he ran a conservative 68:42, good for 15th position in the Chase. This year he arrives with seven year-old daughter Christine after dropping out of the Dong-A Marathon in Seoul, South Korea on March 20th, felled by a stomach bug that knocked him out before he reached 10K. The former world record holder is aiming for a 63:30 on Sunday.
36 year-old Isabella Ochichi took a long seven year break from competitive running after a bronze medal finish in the 5000m at the 2006 World Athletic Final. Two Achilles tendon surgeries and a stubborn weight gain after the birth of her son Bernard in 2010 kept the 2004 Olympic silver medalist over 5000m sidelined.
She has finished third in the last two Honolulu Marathons, and fourth in the 2014 Hapalua Chase, even with a women’s course record 70:24. Just last week Isabella finished fifth in the Prague Half Marathon running 69:03. Her goal is to run 71-flat.
The Hapalua starts at 6 a.m.on April 10 by The Duke Kahanamoku statue in Waikiki and finishes in Kapiolani Park just like its sister Honolulu Marathon in December. The times on the Hapalua course seem slow, but that has as much to do with challenging front and backside climbs over the infamous Diamond Head in the final four miles as it does with the tropical weather.
I will be hosting a live Periscope feed from the lead vehicle once the sun comes up. You can follow along on my Periscope (<— download link) at ToniReavis.
Periscope is a simple iPhone app by Twitter that lets you do live streaming or broadcast to all your followers on Twitter. You can also watch and follow other people doing broadcasts on it. If a person you’re following is doing live broadcasts, you can easily see it from your main dashboard on the app.
Honolulu, Hawaii — Hawaii’s First Family of running notched another victory today as 33-year-old Eri MacDonald won the third edition of The Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon in a unique Chase format that pitted the top island runners against three invited world-class runners from Kenya.Beginning 21-minutes ahead of Patrick Makau and Peter Kirui, Eri ran 1:25:21, which adjusted to 1:04:21 at the Kapiolani Park finish. That was enough to complete the 13.1 mile loop 29-seconds ahead of Big island runner Rani Henderson, 38, a three-time Honolulu Marathon Kama’aina (island) champion who began in the same group with MacDonald. The victory garned a $5000 first-place prize.
Long-striding Kenyan star Peter Kirui came roaring from behind to catch all but the top two. He posted a gun time of 65:45 over the Honolulu course which included two climbs of the Diamond Head crater in the final 6km.
“It was fun,” said Macdonald,who was a 13-time Hawaii state high school cross country and track champion at Punahou High school. “I ran the first year, and it didn’t go very well, but I started with a good group today, then took the lead coming back down Diamond Head.” (more…)
Honolulu, Hawaii — After two days of sightseeing and public appearances, Patrick Makau, Peter Kirui, and Isabella Ochichi will get down to the business end of their trip to Honolulu Sunday morning as the 3rdHapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathonbegins along Waikiki Beach (see start schedule below).
Makau ran the fastest time under 2013’s torrential downpour, 65:28, but because The Chase format was in play, where the top pros had to chase down 24 top local runners given head starts, Patrick only crossed the finish line in 16th place.
This year Makau is coming off an injury which derailed the rest of 2013, a year he saw his world record fall to countryman Wilson Kipsang in Berlin. The Hapalua will be Patrick’s first competition since a hollowed out 2:14 at the 2013 London Marathon last April. He’s just now getting back to real training. Isabella Ochichi is on the comeback trail, too, after an endless seven year layoff. With the Honolulu Marathon already on her December schedule, this first visit to Oahu is as much an audition as anything. Strangely, there has never been a Kenyan women’s winner at the Honolulu Marathon. The Hapalua will let her test the tropical conditions. She is healthy now, but being sensible with her return to form.