HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - This weekend's Honolulu Marathon will be the largest race in 15 years, with more than 31,000 runners anticipated to enter. That number is almost 200 times more than when the race first started with only 162 entrants.
"You've got to remember back in '73, there was only one Zippy's in town, it was on King Street," said Gary Dill, who lives in Honolulu. "So this is way back, when we are talking about."
Gary Dill was one of the 162 runners who entered and finished the race when it first began in 1973, and he has run every Honolulu Marathon since.
"It has always been a once a year test where my body is," said Dill. "I always enjoyed the camaraderie on the course through the pain, and through the finish as well, so I have always come back."
This year he's back again to run his 40th Honolulu Marathon.
"This is my very first Honolulu Marathon Certificate," said Dill while showing off his 1973 certificate. "The runner (on the certificate) is a naked Greek man who is running barefoot, man!"
"(In this photo) We are running in basketball shoes and running in tennis shoes, and this was pinned or sewed or taped or strapped somewhere on your body." said Dill while holding his marathon entry badge number from 1974.
"Over here on the side in place of this naked Greek man, we got a Hawaiian guy," said Dill referring to his latest certificate with a clothed runner. "You see technological changes over the years (chuckle)."
He says the race has grown in numbers and in popularity amongst elite runners across the globe.
"It has always been, despite the fact, that it is been a major draw for elite runners," said Dill. "It has always been a people's marathon where a lot of marathons cut you off. But this one allows you to run however long you need with aid stations still up and going until you cross the finish line."
Dill says it's still a race for anyone who simply loves to run.
Dill, who lives in Honolulu, is one of only two men to complete every Honolulu Marathon. The other runner is Jerold Chun of California. The men will be honored at the Honolulu Marathon event luau concert at the Waikiki Shell on Friday night, as well as, on Sunday morning during starting line festivities.