Hapalua Half

After a phenomenal Hawaii wedding of two wonderful people (my son and daughter-in-law), a week of relaxation with friends and family, and a fun-filled birthday party for my new granddaughter, it was time to go home.

Well, almost time. Since this is a blog about running, as a mere footnote to all the larger and much more important events during my stay. let’s talk about the Hapalua. (But, if you’re interested in reading my thoughts on becoming a mother-in-law, you can find that over at Sixty and me.)

The day before my departure from the beautiful island of O’ahu, there just happened to be a 1/2 marathon, the Hapalua (translates ‘half’ in Hawaiian).

The Chase

Minutes before the start of the Hapalua, the Hapalua Chase begins. The Chase pits Team Hawaii, the best runners in Hawaii, with the professional runners who come to Hawaii for the Chase. Team Hawaii got a head start with the pros chasing down the locals. Local runners had handicaps anywhere from six to 24 minutes.

The winner of The Chase was Josphat Tanui from Kenya. Oahu’s Cindy Anderson was the last holdout, being passed within 50 yards from the finish.

The Start

As for those of us not in the elite field, the Hapalua start time was 6 a.m. The weather was pleasant with a 75 degree temperature and a soft wind blowing into our faces.

I was lined up quite far into the back of the pack of nearly 7,500 runners. Dealing with some leg pain over the past few weeks, I decided on an easy pace and to simply enjoy Kapi’olani Park, Waikiki and the view of the beautiful Pacific as I ran.

The Course

The soft breeze as we ran up toward Ala Moana was welcome, even at this early hour. The course, beautiful as it is, was crowded enough that I was at mile six before I felt like I could break out a bit.

I had a couple of good miles before reaching mile 10, where we headed up the steepest hill on Monsarrat Blvd. The climb left us with a nice downhill, then back up again for a shorter climb up Diamondhead Road. As we reached the top, the view over the cliff didn’t disappoint.

The Finish

The finish line awaited, followed by a line of sprinklers set up to cool off returning runners.

The result was a Personal Worst for a half-marathon time, by at least 12 minutes (2:23:10. With that time, surprisingly I placed 2nd in my age group (W70-74). The other pleasant surprise in looking at results was the high number of women – 38 of us – finishing in my age group.

Family joined me at the post-race festivities, where runners lined up for malasadas and shave ice. Waiting for award announcements, we enjoyed the best post-race music I can recall, provided by Mango Season.

With the day still young, we decided on a breakfast of crèpes at a nearby restaurant. More on that wonderful treat in my next blog.

Tell me about your most scenic race. How far have you traveled for a destination race? Did you find a nice running route or a local race when traveling to exciting family events?


  1. What a unique race pitting the locals with the elites. I can “sort of” picture the route from when I was there in 1988. It was a 3 day stopover on the way to New Zealand from Canada. I wasn’t a runner back then, but just walked the beach and roads to Diamondhead.

    And congratulations on 2nd in your age group. That really is a lot of runners in the 70-74 female age group and is really nice to see. 🙂

    • Carl, the Waikiki area has changed significantly since 1988, but the beautiful Diamondhead cliff and the beach will always be the beautiful views they are. Yes, if you look at the AG closely, you will see the majority of the runners in my age group are from Japan. They have a strong running community and it seems women stay with the sport longer than many in the US.

      • This is really interesting Mary Lou. Always have a lot of respect for the Japanese culture , for their healthy eating and longevity. Which also would apply to their running! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s