Hapalua Half Marathon Review and Benefits

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If the runner in your life loves travel, give them a race that combines sight-seeing with challenging running; Hawaii’s Hapalua Half Marathon may just fit that bill!

This race features The Chase. This feature gives local runners from Hawaii an early headstart before professional runners from across the world attempt to catch them up at the finish line!

The Course

Hapalua (pronounced hah-pah-loo-ah) is pronounced ‘hah-pah-loo-ah), taken from Hawaiian words for half (hapa) and water (lua). Organized by the same team behind Honolulu Marathon, this half marathon follows much of its same route.

The race begins in front of Duke Kahanamoku’s statue in Waikiki and proceeds along Kalakaua Avenue and Ala Moana Boulevard for stunning ocean views and entertainment, before entering downtown Honolulu to run back through Waikiki, up Monsarrat Avenue and around Diamond Head before finishing in Kapiolani Park and collecting their medals from the finishers’ village.

The majority of this course is paved and features elevation gains of nearly 225 feet at certain points; overall though it remains relatively flat. However, the first nine miles tend to be easier than its successor nine, and there is an incline around mile 9 that presents some difficulty.

At Kapiolani Park’s finish line, runners can watch their finish on a giant screen and receive an awesome medal to commemorate their achievement. Afterward, runners can celebrate in Kapiolani Park’s finisher village featuring live music, Shave Ice, fresh Malasadas and plenty of food and beverages!

The Hapalua Half Marathon offers participants an ideal way to explore Hawaii while staying fit at the same time. Everything about this experience is superbly organized, ensuring participants a fantastic journey from start to finish. Organizers have planned activities specifically tailored for runners and spectators that are sure to ensure it will become an event everyone remembers fondly.

The Expo

The Hapalua Half Marathon is one of Hawaii’s premier runs. This race provides participants an ideal way to experience all that Honolulu has to offer while getting in some exercise at the same time. But before getting out there, participants need to visit the Expo and pick up their race packet containing their bib number, pins, timing chip and commemorative T-shirt; there is also a bag drop area nearby where their bag may be left.

The course starts from the statue of Duke Kahanamoku in Waikiki and travels through downtown Honolulu before looping back through Waikiki before proceeding up and around Diamond Head and Kalakaua Avenue before coming back into Kapiolani Park along Kalakaua Avenue – it’s pretty flat except for one major hill near mile eight.

I highly recommend it as an exciting race with plenty of supporters cheering you on and would encourage anyone looking for a fast half or to try something new to join us!

Packet pickup was easy and quick; there was a wide variety of merchandise for sale that was well organized. I was initially concerned about parking arrangements but everything worked out smoothly – just bring cash as they charge $10 for parking!

Race Cost

This event does not have any qualification requirements and is open to runners of all ages and abilities. Registration costs $65 with each entry receiving a complimentary t-shirt runner can register both online or in person at the Expo.

Once the race commences, participants will start at the statue of Duke Kahanamoku on Kalakaua Avenue and run through downtown Honolulu before returning to Waikiki and then up and around Diamond Head before coming full circle and back onto Kalakaua Avenue, leading into Kapiolani Park.

After their race, participants can enjoy Kapiolani Park’s Finisher Village to watch their finish on a large screen and receive their medals as well as enjoy entertainment and post race food.

Shuttle buses will run between 3:30 am and 5:30 am from Parking Lots A, B and C of Kapiolani Community College to Monserrat Avenue bus stops in Waikiki as well as Monserrat and Kalakaua avenues near the Waikiki Bandstand.

The Start Line

The Hapalua Half Marathon is one of the most beloved running events for local runners and international participants alike. Not only can runners enjoy an invigorating run, but raising money for local charities is encouraged and then given a discount off their race fees – creating an enjoyable and fulfilling experience! Beginning in Waikiki and continuing through downtown Honolulu before looping around Diamond Head before concluding at Kapiolani Park (traditional finish line for Honolulu Marathon) for Kapiolani Park; this marathon course opens to elites as well as novice runners and participants from across all areas – perfect for runners from around the globe.

Participants should attend the race expo to collect their race packets, including their bib numbers and timing chips, pins to attach their bib number with, t-shirt and Hapalua bag. There will also be numerous exhibitors present allowing attendees to explore what services or goods may be on offer at this expo.

Race Start Time

At 6am on March 11th runners will begin the race in Waikiki at Duke Kahanamoku’s statue before traveling through downtown Honolulu before taking Monsarrat Avenue up around Diamond Head before finishing back up in Waikiki and Kapiolani Park.

As you progress in the race, you will encounter cheerleaders, bands, taiko drummers and other supporters along the route, which make the experience far more entertaining and engaging! Additionally there are 7 aid stations equipped with water, Gatorade, energy gels and all sorts of goodies designed to keep runners hydrated during their run.

At the race itself, Waikiki, Ala Moana and Kakaako will experience various road closures between 4am to 10am as it takes place. From Nimitz Highway to River Street to King Street to Kapiolani Boulevard and Piikoi Street may all be closed between these times; additionally there will be lane closures on Monsarrat Avenue from Kaiulani to Kapahulu as well as Diamond Head Road between Kalakaua Avenue and Paki Avenue for safety reasons.

The Finish Line

The Hapalua Race is an intriguing competition that pits amateur runners against world-class professional athletes in an event known as “The Chase.” Beginning near Duke Kahanamoku’s statue in Waikiki, participants ascend and descend Diamond Head before arriving at Kapiolani Park and concluding their race.

This year, local runners Zachary Lee, Davis Kaahanui and Michael Chin won top spots in The Chase to the delight of thousands of spectators at the finish line. Aiea-native Lee completed the race in 1:16:10. Behind them came Molly Seidel, Jessa Hanson Jacob Thomson Matt Llano and Yuichi Jumonji as chasers.

This year’s event also included The Chase as well as a full marathon and 5K. All races took place on Sunday, and runners were met at their finish lines by thousands of supporters cheering them on.

Closing Thoughts

As with many organized running events, the Hapalua Half Marathon provided free t-shirts and medals to all participants. Furthermore, runners were treated to an after-race food festival with malasadas, shaved ice, and other sweet treats!

While overall the race experience was pleasant and memorable, some areas could use improvement. There are no corrals at the start, making it hard to separate slower runners from faster ones; and water stations closed much sooner than anticipated at the beginning of the race.

No matter its issues, the Hapalua Half Marathon remains an outstanding way to experience Honolulu and all it has to offer. Even if you can’t make it physically to Hawaii for this year’s race, virtual registration allows anyone from anywhere to take part! Register for 2023 Hapalua Half Marathon now to earn race shirts and medals as you complete each distance and be sure to share your results via social media using #Hapalove to show your accomplishments.

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