The Honolulu Marathon will take place this Sunday, December 11. The race will start at 5 am at the Ala Moana Boulevard/Queen Street Extension and finish at Kapiolani Park. You can view the race course here.
The Expo is open through Saturday, December 10 from 9 am – 5 pm and will feature 100+ vendors offering energy drinks and other supplements, running equipment, massage tables, promotions for other running events, jewelry and other goods for Christmas shoppers.
The Contenders – Men
The race director describes the men’s race as “the most talented field we’ve ever had.” Defending champion Nicholas Chelimo of Kenya leads the men’s pack with four or five of the elites running marathons in less than two hours and eight minutes.
Chelimo will be chased by 2008 and 2009 winner Patrick Ivuti of Kenya, who was second in the Vienna Marathon in 2:08:41 last April; Ivuti’s training partner Benjamin Kolum, who won the Paris Marathon in 2:06:31 in April; Tekese Kebede of Ethiopia, who was second at Boston this year with a 2:07:23 performance.
All will be pushed by Ezkyas Sisay of Ethiopia, who ran 2:11 in New York this year. Last year, Sisay ran alongside Gebre, his girlfriend, at her pace before dropping out a short distance from the finish line. But this year, he will be an elite runner with the men.
Six-time winner Jimmy Muindi, who was 5th last year and holds the course record of 2:11:12 (2004), also is in the field. The 37-year-old Kenyan will be running his 19th Honolulu race.
This year’s pacesetters are three-time winner Mbarak Hussein, the current USA Masters champion in the 10K, and Kiplimo Kimutai of Kenya, who ran a sub-one hour half-marathon in 2009 and was second in the Goteborg Half-Marathon in May in 1:01:21.
The Contenders – Women
On the women’s side, the race director believes it will be a battle between defending champion Belainesh Gebre of Ethiopia; three-time winner Svetlana Zakharova of Russia, who was second last year; and Eri Okubo of Japan, who was sixth last year.
Gebre, whose winning time in her first-ever marathon last year, was 2:32:13, ran 2:26:17, placing fourth at Chicago in October. Zakharova, who is now 41, ran Boston in 2:35:47 and placed 19th last April. But she has never finished lower than second in nine Honolulu races. Okubo ran 2:28:49 in the Berlin Marathon in September, placing ninth.
Also running are Misiker Demissie of Ethiopia, who was second in San Diego in 2:25:20 last June. She was fourth in Honolulu last year. Several other Ethiopians and a Kenyan also are in the women’s elite field, but little is known about them at this time.
Lyubov Denisova of Russia set the women’s record of 2:27:19 in 2006.
Hall of Famer – Glady-ator
Gladys “Glady” Burrill has gained the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest female to complete a marathon. She finished the Honolulu race at age 92 last year in nine hours, 53 minutes and 16 seconds. It was her fifth Honolulu finish in seven years. In addition, she was honored with The Honolulu Marathon’s Hall of Fame plaque.
The plaque says “the woman known as The Gladyator redefines what is possible. Glady is a true inspiration not only to the people of Hawaii but to people around the world.”
This year, Burrilll has retired from the marathon distance and will lead a team participating in the 10-kilometer Race Day Walk.
For the first time, malasadas will be handed out to finishing marathon runners. About 20,000 of the fluffy Portuguese donuts will be made in a tent near the Kapiolani Park finish line. The effort will require 2,500 gallons of oil and 500 pounds of sugar!
Run with Passion
Good luck to all 2011 Honolulu Marathon participants. Have a great race and race with passion.