Annual KONA MARATHON 2013
Kona Sheraton is the new sponsoring hotel
Photos by runner Dr. Rodney Chang
2013 Copyright Pygoya
Location: Keauhou-Kona, Hawaii
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Start and Finish no longer
at previously sponsor hotel Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort. So course was
modified this year into something
really odd that I have never before experience in a full marathon. The start was away from the new sponsoring hotel, the Kona Sheraton Resort
in Keauhou-Kona, next to the Keauhou-Kona Shopping Center. Shuttle buses were supposed to pick up runners at the Sheraton prior to the 5:30am
start. But no show buses! The start was 1 mile away from the hotel. The Sheraton is further south from Kailua-Kona town. So, the race course this
year started further south from Kailua-Kona's famed Alii Drive (think Lahaina, Maui; Waikikik, Oahu). Which meant the elimination of the loop off the highway at the other end. So there was no turn off to loop to the water processing plant. Instead a mere turn-around sign on the highway, which I welcomed. But you pay dearly at the end, making up the distance. The tacked on last 2 miles includes a steep hill (reminding me of Honolulu Marathon's Heartbreak Hill at Diamond Head Crater), about 1/3 mile of rough gravel road on undeveloped land (trees and bushes), and worse of all, an "obstacle" course" for the last 1/4 mile through the Sheraton hotel grounds itself, including walking up two stairways to run along unknown corridors to get to the open lawn designated by the hotel as the Finish, with its tents and festivities. Too bad a more common sense access to this open lawn wasn't on
an asphalt road or sidewalk instead of running in circles across lawn walkways, side of a pool with sun-baking tourists, through hotel corridors and up and down stepping (tough
after 25.8 miles!). It seemed so makeshift, an afterthought, a miscalculation of distance(?) as there were not even cones marking the way on the hotel grounds but volunteer kids pointing the way. I'm sure, if the Sheraton again sponsors the race, they'll have the route worked out in a professional manner. This particular route could not have been sanctioned as an official route to qualify for the Boston Marathon! Weather this year: surprising for Kona (as pointed out by the race director), gentle breeze at start. Then for first half of my 6 hours=, overcast, a little breeze, no rain. Then the sun came through the cloud cover and it was hot, hot, hot without shade along the way. Felt like 90 on the highway. Got a sunburn, which I normally don't get over 26 miles. This was my 47th full marathon; met Carl of Maui again who at 66 completed his 104th! MAHALO to all the volunteers that helped make this run happen! MORE COMMENTS
What we are running for; the prettiest Finisher Medal around!
AT THE START
Assembly before thet 5:30 A.M. start
I'm here, No. 115 from Honolulu
With my wonderful wife Erlinda who has waited at Finish Lines for over 30 years.
Miss UCC Coffee, intentionally blurred by Erlinda who took the photo
Closest the moon will be this year to planet Earth
Protection by the Royal Hawaiian Guard
Walking to the Starting Line
I'll get you starting out.
"Isn't it past 5:30am?"
A look behind; total participants for half, full marathon and the 5K That's it, folks!
Erlinda waiting for the start
"Where is that guy?"
lst aid station
The way to Kailua-Kona town
Oceanfront tradewind, unusual for Kona climate
Needs a few repairs
Contrast of rock arrangements
Looking back at the passed coastline
Only 3 miles so far
Trim job I wouldn't want
Not ready to be served
Keep on running