Patrick Makau and daughter Christine enjoying the breezes at the Outrigger

Patrick Makau and daughter Christine enjoying the day at the Outrigger Reef

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.

Hapalua logoThe Hapalua is best known for its unique Chase format in which Team Hawaii consisting 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.

15Hapalua Passing Johanna

Eventual winner Peter Kirui of Kenya (64:08) & runner-up Nicholas Kemboi of Qatar (64:09) pass Team Hawaii’s Johanna Apelryd down Diamond Head in the final mile of the 2015 Hapalua

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.

Isabella Ochichi set world 5K road record at Carlsbad 200

Isabella Ochichi set the world 5K road record at Carlsbad 2004 in 14:53 in same year as she won Olympic silver medal in Athens, Greece.

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.

Hapalua course map

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 LogoPeriscope 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.





Peter, Patrick & Isabella Hangin' Loose at Paili Lookout

Peter, Patrick & Isabella Hangin’ Loose at Pali Lookout

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 3rd Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon begins 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.

Continue reading


Coming April 13, 2014

Coming April 13, 2014

Honolulu, Hawaii – Even as the Virgin Money London Marathon features a fearsome field of contenders for its 2014 edition this Sunday morning, former marathon world record holder, and Sunday London pacer, Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia has offered a bleak prognosis for the sport he bestrode for so many years.

“Athletics has to change a little bit, bring in new ideas, new concepts,” said the holder of 27 world records to the assembled London press corps. “Otherwise it’s going to be just a bit boring to watch.”

That’s a little ironic, perhaps, since Haile will play a key role in one of running’s most labored old ideas this Sunday morn, lead pacer in the marathon. New ideas? How about letting the athletes compete over the entire distance? Boring to watch? How about knowing for a certainty that NOTHING will happen for the first half of the race — Unless there is an error in judgement, like we saw in 2013 when they went through the half in 61:34, or in 2009 when they went through 10k in 28:30 on the way to the half in 61:36.  Those kind of errors just blow up the race, not the SOMETHING race organizers might be looking for.

Saying the health and well-being of the sport (meaning track & field) has been masked by the over-sized presence of Jamaican superstar sprinter Usain Bolt, Haile wondered what the sport would do in his absence?

“We have to upgrade the situation,” he concluded, “attract more of an audience (and give) what they like. We have to attract sponsors. If the sponsors think nobody cares about athletics, who is going to sponsor you?” Continue reading


It is no surprise that the dominance of Kenyan runners over the last twenty years has cut both ways in the sport of distance running.  While records have fallen with increasing rapidity, the marketability of the sport — and its champions  — has also fallen well behind the standard set by the slower champions of the initial running boom.  Now, perhaps belatedly, the fastest runners on the planet have begun to  acknowledge that their role must extend beyond that of simple performer and include a dash of salesman, too, in the offering of the sport to the public. Continue reading


London 2013

London 2013

London,England – Of course, anything can happen, but on this final day before Sunday’s 33rd Virgin London Marathon the talk around the Tower Hotel hard along the rolling Thames River has turned to the what-ifs.  What if the men go for the world record?  Who will make the first break when the rabbits depart? What if Mo Farah, the double Olympic Brit track champ going along for the ride for the first half, does something beyond sit off the back and observe? What if the stacked field doesn’t go with the pacers and turns inward and tactical instead?  Ah, racing, that most unpredictable of all dramas.

The 2013 London Marathon has been billed as a world record attempt, but with this many top dogs in the hunt, the win is one for the ages, regardless of the winning time.  So for me, the men’s race comes down to motivation.  With the credentials of this field — five World Marathon Majors course record holders, ten sub-2:06 men, including six of the fastest ten in history — every contender has known big success.  But Uganda’s Stephen Kiprotich already has the prize everyone else wanted, the Olympic gold medal from 2012.  Defending champion Wilson Kipsang holds the London title and the Olympic bronze, and is the second quickest marathon man in history off his 2:03:42 win in Frankfurt 2011, just four seconds shy of Patrick Makau’s world record (2:03:38) from Berlin 2011. Ethiopia’s Tsegaye Kebede arrives as the 2012 Chicago course record holder and 2010 London champ.  But it’s Makau and the world’s fastest marathoner, Geoffrey Mutai (2:03:02) from Boston 2011 who stand out as the two most invested in revenge, a powerful emotional tool. Continue reading


London, England — VIPs from the running world gathered beneath the London Tower Bridge this evening aboard the luxury river yacht the Silver Sturgeon for a welcome celebration to the 33rd Virgin London Marathon.  But though the professional fields for Sunday’s races are the best in the world this year, and perhaps the best in London’s illustrious history, not surprisingly the topic most under discussion remained the terror attack at Monday’s Boston Marathon.

Race directors of America’s two largest marathons, Mary Wittenberg of New York City and Carey Pinkowski of Chicago, huddled together to consider what the industry as a whole might do in response rather than just what the six World Marathon Majors might put forward.  Then first year London race director Hugh Brasher, son of event co-founder Chris Brasher, addressed the crowd welcoming them to the city, but also remembering the loss suffered in Boston.  Hugh next introduced defending men’s champion and Olympic Marathon bronze medalist Wilson Kipsang of Kenya who spoke movingly in the name of his fellow athletes.

“We would like to express our condolences to those who lost loved ones in Boston,” he began standing on a staircase overlooking the crowd.  “But we will run feeling free. We won’t worry about security when we’re running.  We are ready to run well on Sunday, and maybe break the course record or even the world record.” Continue reading


With the powerhouse fields lined up for the swift Rotterdam and London Marathons this spring, there is no guarantee that current marathon world record holder Patrick Makau (2:03:38, Berlin 2011) will still hold that designation after April 21st.  Yet, amidst the scramble to the top of the marathon food chain, Makau has slowly been coming round to the need to step out of his more reserved natural shell and branch out as a spokesman for his sport.  We saw evidence of this recently at The Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon where Makau visited a local school to address the eager young track team.  Now, Makau is being featured in a short anti-malaria public service video, encouraging his fellow Kenyans to use netting to combat the mosquitoes which carry the disease.

Though spokesman may not be his default setting, one can see the growth of Makau as more than just a runner and record holder.  In this he is following in the footsteps of such brethren as Paul Tergat and Haile Gebrselassie, the two men who held the marathon world record before Makau.

Like many of his fellow top Kenyan racers, Makau supports an every expanding array of personal and tribe-based  requests.  Now, he is using his well-earned fame to take on issues of greater and more expansive social import.   For this he is to be applauded.