If you’re dumb, welcome to the club. And let me explain my idea behind my race reviews: basically I tell you if I think the race is worth the money and if I’d recommend it to you. easy, right? I like to wait awhile to do the review so my personal performance doesn’t affect my opinion of the race itself.
Recently I was asked to run a race and then review it but not say anything negative about the race. Umm, what’s the point of a review if it’s not honest? How does that help you? More importantly, what’s the point of this face?
Every race has positives and negatives and I try to highlight both along with tips so you’ll have the best experience possible. But maybe I’m all wrong here; maybe I should just say every race is so cool beans that it’s three thumbs up!
(If you want to go read other race reviews, some pictures might not show up. Sorry, I’m dumb and accidentally deleted over 1000 pictures awhile ago)
The Maui Marathon was held on September 18th in Maui (Lahaina), Hawaii. Next year’s race will be on September 16th, 2012.
There’s also a half marathon (an out and back course) and the Warrior Challenge: you run a 5k and 1 mile race the day before and then the half marathon on the same day as the marathon. HauteRunningMama did this and rocked it hard. (You get extra medals and swag for doing the challenge)
If you register now for next year’s race, the marathon is only $85, the half is $75 and the 5k is $25. There’s also a carbo-loading luau and a Hard Rock Café pasta party; I didn’t attend either so I don’t know much about them.
The expo was held at the host hotel the Westin, and that’s where the race start and finish were as well.
It was pretty small and had a lot of untraditional expo items, but hey, you’re in Hawaii, what do you expect? There weren’t any waits or lines, and the people helping were really friendly.
TIP: I’d bring all my race gear (gels, running belt, salt tablets, etc.) with me instead of trying to buy them at the expo just in case they don’t have them. This means waterproof, sweatproof sunscreen!
The race starts at 5:30am (definitely the earliest start time I’ve ever seen) so the shuttles started running at 3:30 until 4:15am out in front of the Westin. I got on a bus at 4:05 and probably could have waited another 10 minutes, but the time worked out fine; I didn’t feel like I needed to be there any earlier.
I don’t know if it was because the race is a little smaller or because I was on one the later shuttles, but the bus line was super efficient and quick. People got on quickly, the busses moved quickly, it was very smooth; I’d definitely recommend taking a shuttle.
The ride itself took nearly an hour since the course is point-to-point and you start out by the airport in Kahului. I got there right around 5am which was enough time to go to the bathroom, see the Hawaiian dancers perform, meet up with Pam and then head to the start.
TIP: Unless you need a lot of time before the race to get yourself mentally ready, I don’t think you need to be at the start very early. There were a ton of porta potties which meant short lines. And it’s dark out still so there’s probably vampires out.
The marathon started right on time in the dark which was slightly weird. You start out in a residential area and then move out of town within a few miles. It stayed dark for about the first hour, but it was awesome: the temperature was perfect at that point. I was hoping it’d stay dark all day. no such luck.
Around mile 7 there’s a nice mile long decline and you finally see the ocean at mile 8. As soon as the sun rose it started getting warm, but it wasn’t that bad yet.
At mile 10-11 you start climbing and that mile long decline you cruised down, you now get to hike up. You eventually climb to over 1000 feet, but you’re running along a cliff overlooking the ocean – gorgeous.
I had heard someone say that the first half of the race is hilly and the second is pancake flat and that was pretty much true. The second half of the race goes alongside the ocean all the way to the finish. I thought the last 13 miles were really pretty and very Hawaii-ish. Like all ads are of runners in the later miles…. like this one:
The last 3 miles are run through Lahaina and finish up right in front of the Westin where the half marathoners also finish.
TIP: The course is very scenic and beautiful but be prepared for the hills in the first half and also for running in the dark.
There were aid stations about every 2 miles to begin with and there were more near the finish, a total of 18 stations on course. The volunteers gave out LARGE cups of water and Gatorade and wet sponges at a couple different stations later in the race.
The one thing is that the sponges weren’t cold and you were soaking wet by that point anyways so I didn’t feel like they really did any good, but they were fun and a welcome distraction.
I can’t remember if any gels were given out or not; I brought my own.
TIP: Although I thought the stations were adequate especially with the larger cups of fluids, you might want to bring your own water belt/bottles with a humid race like this. And possibly take salt tablets.
It’s Hawaii. It’s gorgeous. It reeks of Bird of Paradise, macadamia nuts and vacation. It is wonderful. It is hot and humid. There was good reason for a 5:30am start; I wouldn’t have even minded a 4:30am start.
Temperature for the start is usually in the high 60′s, increasing to mid to high 80′s by 10:00am.
TIP: The only thing I can say is be aware that it’s going to be warm and very humid and sweaty. I sweat so much that my bib started disintegrating on my legs by the end. Watch your liquids, make sure you’re hydrated and taking in electrolytes. Readjust your goals if need be, pull back and conserve your energy. Pace yourself because it will only get warmer and warmer as the race goes on.
I didn’t see a whole lot of stuff at the finish line but then again, I was with friends and soaking wet and just wanting to leave and change immediately. They were super generous with the water bottles, giving me as many as many as I wanted which was nice.
The medal was cute with the center part spinning:
And the shirt:
Overall I think this is a great destination vacation race and I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s not an easy race, but it’s hard to complain when you’re in Hawaii! I mean, if you have a sucky race, go drown your sorrows in the pool and pina coladas.
I think the half marathon looks like a fun course and probably a great race as well since it starts and finished right in Lahaina so you don’t have to deal with the early morning bus ride and the whole course is near the water instead of in the hills like the marathon course.
As with many destination races, I think getting there about 2 days before is good – you can acclimate to the climate and time zone, then get the race done and have fun. I don’t like having to spend my vacation worrying about an upcoming race… Am I getting too much sun so I’ll be tired on race day? Can I have a pina colada or will that dehydrate me too much? I better go to bed now…
So fly out a day or two before the race, have a great race and then enjoy your vacation. And bring some good waterproof sunscreen!
Isn’t it fun and inspiring to read people’s first time race reports? Go check out Jessica at Running for Bikinis – she just ran her first half marathon! And beat her time goal; go girl!!