For some, potholes turned Honolulu Marathon into obstacle course

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - For the thousands of people who ran in Sunday's Honolulu Marathon, completing the 26.2-mile down-and-back course across East Oahu is challenging enough without having to deal with several dangerous and unecessary obstacles.

Cell phone video taken during the race captured one runner hitting the asphalt after witnesses said he tripped in a pothole on Kalakaua Avenue. Bystanders and other race participants can be seen rushing to help the man back to his feet as he attempts to adjust his knee brace.

Waianae resident Ray Driscoll, who was watching the race with his family in front of the Aston Waikiki Resort, was among them.

"There was so many people, I never even saw the hole," said Driscoll. "After three or four minutes, I see a guy fall. Then he got up and started running. And then a couple minutes later, boom, another guy fell."

Despite the crowd yelling at runners to warn them of the hazard, Driscoll says he watched at least nine people fall onto the pavement – not counting the people who merely stumbled after stepping into the hole.

For the most part, runners agree that the Honolulu course is beautiful, even if it does get dicey in spots. Jay Wood says he watched someone take a tumble shortly after starting the race.

"There were some holes in the course. I felt really bad for him," said Wood.

Honolulu Marathon officials declined to provide Hawaii News Now with the exact number of people who reported injuries during the race, electing instead to issue a statement saying that safety is taken very seriously.

"We actually have a whole team that works with the city. Two weeks, out we start doing course sweeps and identifying larger potholes," said Honolulu Marathon President Jim Barahal.

Most of the patching usually happens between seven and ten days before the race, but Barahal says heavy rains pushed those road repairs back a few days.

"We fixed a lot of potholes, but as everyone who lives here knows, there are a lot of potholes," said Barahal.

Barahal says he believes the course was in very good shape, but did apologize to the people who fell.

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