Honolulu Marathon 2017:
Marathon # 79
Date:December 10, 2017
Aloha from Hawaii! It was my first time going to Hawaii so I was really looking forward to the Honolulu marathon. This was a planned holiday and marathon double with my family. My wife had also entered the marathon after a one year hiatus from marathon running. The Honolulu marathon is the fourth largest marathon in the USA. It is one of the few marathons without a time limit. In doing so, it naturally attracts many people of different size, shape, and speed. More than 35 000 competitors lined up at the start line of the 45th Honolulu marathon, ready for the 5am start. Big city marathons release big energy and the energy from this start line was palpable. Thousands of people were feeding off that special marathon energy and each other. Vibrant, buoyant, and effervescent. A marathon start line is a special place. Although I was on holiday and there was nowhere I had to be. I knew exactly where I should be. And it was right here. Where life is at its strongest. Different ages, cultures, abilities, and reasons to run. All sharing one common goal – to get to the finish line. A spectacular fireworks display lit up the morning sky and the race began. Thousands of runners bubbling over the start line. A different kind of early morning rush hour along Ala Moana Boulevard. Time to run a marathon? Yes please.
Running marathons whilst holidaying is a favourite past time of mine. When I holiday, I am relaxed. When I run, I am truly relaxed. It makes sense to combine the two. I’ve always made an effort to remove my watch whilst on holiday. Naturally, this soon extended into my running. After completing about 50 marathons, I stopped running with a watch. Time controls my everyday life. It establishes my routine. It schedules my day. Time organises my patient appointments. When I work, I must keep to time. If I don’t keep to time, then I am unpopular. Presumed to be inefficient or indolent. After a while, I realised that time may control my work life, but it would not control my hobbies. And I certainly would not let it control my running. I run free. Free of time. Free of control. Free of rules. Free of expectations. I run according to feel. If I feel good, I run faster. If I don’t feel good, I ease off a bit. I run according to enjoyment. Released from the chains of time, I feel free. I don’t see the need to chase records, make cut offs, or be faster than before. I don’t need to know the time while running. If I am running fast, I pass people. If I am running slowly, people pass me. If you want to be a lifestyle runner, slacken the wrist strap and take off your watch. Take all the pressure off yourself. Chasing personal bests can be all consuming. Run because you enjoy it. Run well into your elderly years. Run timeless.
Honolulu is a beautiful place to run. Running in the dark, you witness Honolulu’s beautiful Christmas lights display. As the sun rises, it brings with it magnificent views of Waikiki Beach and the Pacific Ocean. You then head out towards Diamond Head and Koko Head volcanic craters. Remnants of a series of volcanic eruptions that occurred over 500 000 years ago. Approaching the 30km mark, I am picking up nicely. Time seems to be flying. I come across my wife running in the opposite direction. She has just past the 21km mark. I can tell that she is struggling. I’m sure for her that this will feel like it’s taking forever. She talks about quitting. I know this is not unusual during marathons. Marathons are hard. Everyone feels like quitting or stopping at some point. This is why people run marathons. That is why you feel so good when you finish! Without adversity, there can be no sense of achievement or reward. I give her words of encouragement and say I’ll come back for her. I push on strongly to the finish line. I don’t know it at the time, but I finish the marathon 4 hours and 45 minutes later. I collect my finisher’s medal and shell necklace. I’m quite tired by now. But I know Courtney is still out there. And I’m very well aware that if I want to enjoy the rest of this holiday, I better fetch her. So I turn around. I manage to catch up to her at the 36km mark. We spend the rest of the race jogging and walking together. We eventually finish together. The time is irrelevant. I’m proud of my wife. She’s a tired mother of one who is now also 10 weeks pregnant. The most important thing was that she finished! We tuck into a few Malasadas (Hawaiian delicacy donut) and some cool coconut water at the finisher’s area. We are back on island time again and the holiday continues. Mahalo and aloha. Running is medicine. Join me at my next blog sometime next year. Time for a well-deserved rest. Season’s greetings!
Helpful tipTry running an event without your watch from time to time. Trust me, if you need to know the time, there will always be another runner with a watch.