Honolulu Marathon Association held the 2016 Hapalua on April 10, drawing an all-time high of 7,653 participants.
Since its launch in 2012, the Hapalua (meaning “half” in Hawaiian) has become a popular competition with marathoners, as well as beginners not yet ready for a marathon and runners working their way up to the challenge of the full 26.2 miles. The race is the fastest growing sports event in Hawaii.
Among the most scenic half marathons in the world, the Hapalua’s 13-mile course takes runners through Waikiki to downtown Honolulu and back, finishing with a loop around stunning Diamond Head toward Kapiolani Park, the traditional finish line for the Honolulu Marathon.
There is no time limit for the Hapalua. Just like its sister event, the Honolulu Marathon, the Hapalua welcomes walkers and the fastest runners alike. Participants can take their time to enjoy running or walking in beautiful surroundings.
The race is highlighted by its unique “chase” format. The best local runners from Hawaii get a head start on some of the top professional runners in the world. The elite pros chase down the local guys and girls in a race to the finish line. This year, 24 local runners were divided into six groups, each with different head-start handicaps. These competitors were then pursued by four professional “chasers”: Erick Kibet Kogo (Kenya) , Patrick Makau (Kenya), Ryotaro Otani (Japan) and Isabella Ochichi (Kenya).
Isabella Ochichi won the chase, beating the local runners and was the fastest woman overall (1 hours 10 minutes 37 seconds).