Honolulu, HI – Hapalua is the Hawaiian word for half, but today’s 7th Hapalua, Hawaii’s Half Marathon, was a full measure by anyone’s standards. Under unusually high humidity, defending champion Philip Tarbei of Kenya was able to overcome both the muggy conditions and the head starts afforded all 24 Team Hawaii runners to become the first person to win a second Hapalua title. His 64:14 winning time was 47-seconds slower than last year’s course record, and the outcome of the unique Chase format pitting Hawaii’s best against the Kenyan pros was not decided until the finish line banner came into view in Kapiolani Park.
“I was not sure I could win because of the high humidity,” said the 25 year-old Tarbei from Iten, Kenya, “I’ve never run in anything like this before.”
Though rain threatened throughout the morning, it never actually came. But in its stead, a heavy overlay of humidity clung to Oahu like a clammy shrink wrap, making racing conditions challenging for all 7000-plus starters.
After the 24 Team Hawaii runners took off from the pre-dawn Waikiki Beach start line on Kalakaua Avenue with leads of 24 to 8 minutes, Tarbei, his pacer Daniel Chebii and Kuaui native Pierce Murphy lit out giving Chase. (more…)
Honolulu, HI – Tomorrow, the 7th Hapalua Half Marathon once again pits 24 of the top island runners against two invited world class Kenyans in a unique Chase format. But this year, the Kenyans will have local company for the first time. For how long will be the question.
24-year-old Pierce Murphy is hands-down the best runner to come off the Hawaiian islands since 1976 Olympian and three-time Honolulu Marathon champion Duncan McDonald. An eight-time All American at the University of Colorado, Kauai native Murphy has track PRs of 13:37 for 5000m and 28:48 over the 10,000. But he has only tried on the half-marathon distance one time before, that at the 2016 Los Angeles Rock ‘n’ Roll Half where he finished 2nd in a modest 67:47. He hopes to reduce that time tomorrow, even in the muggy conditions brought on by what locals call Kona conditions that have prevailed on Oahu all week.
“I like the longer stuff,” says Murphy. “The longer it is the harder it is, yes, but the easier it is in racing – if that makes any sense. You can cruise a 5K, but to do it 10 K, you have to train for the 10K. Hopefully, I can run in the 65s tomorrow, and if I feel good, maybe a little faster.”
Odds are he will have to post that time running a lot on his own. Last year splits of 14:40 and 28:48 for 5k and 10k led winner Philip Tarbei to a course record 63:27 in the Hapalua. But Pierce is used to running on his own. These days he does all his training alone, a habit he got into during his high school days on Kauai where he won numerous state crowns.
“I do about 80 miles a week consistently, and just tempo work on the roads, no track.” (more…)
Honolulu, Hi.- The Hapalua Half Marathon crowned a new champion today in sunny Kapiolani Park, and celebrated a new course record, too.
In the sixth running of the Honolulu Marathon’s spring sister race Kenya’s Philip Tarbei chased down all 21 Team Hawaii runners and bettered his three pro challengers, as well, to post a winning 63:27 course record, taking down the 64:08 set by countryman Peter Kirui in 2015.
Team Hawaii rookie Ryan Tsang of Maui finished second with an adjusted time of 64:05, based on his 12-minute head start. Kenya’s other RunCzech Racing runner Abraham Kipyatich took third in 65:29, as he was off form still recovering from a 61:03 half marathon last weekend in Prague in the Czech Republic. (more…)
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.
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. (more…)
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.