With the Honolulu Marathon back on this weekend, be prepared for road closures

For one thing: It will be much smaller. It will also have very little international participation.
Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 3:46 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 10, 2021 at 9:38 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Marathon will return Sunday, but don’t expect it to be same race you’re used to.

While road closures will be in effect during the race, the marathon will be much smaller than previous years. It will also have very little international participation.

Still, organizers are thrilled to be back after the pandemic sacked last year’s run.

The international event typically draws at least 30,000 participants, including 17,000 from Japan. This year, Japanese quarantine restrictions brought that down to 300.

But Japan companies are still providing strong financial backing.

“Our two sponsors, Japan Airlines and Mizuno, have continued to support this event financially even though there’s gonna be very few Japanese participants here,” said Honolulu Marathon President and CEO Dr. Jim Barahal.

“Without that, I don’t think we’ll be able to put on the event, so we’re putting this on because we think it’s important for the community. It’s important for the marathon to not go dark two years in a row.”

Currently, 14,000 runners are registered for the event.

But race director JJ Johnson says not all who register show up on race day, so he’s anticipating at least 10,000 will participate.

Despite having more time to plan this year’s event, Johnson adds COVID restrictions have made organizing an entirely different challenge.

Still, he’s glad to once again get the show up and running.

“That’s how I approach all the events that I put on,” Johnson said. “I’m just the conductor. I’ve got a great orchestra and I see the audience smiles when they see their actors or participants crossing the finish line and that’s what makes this all worthwhile.

Pre-pandemic, the race would generate more than $130 million in visitor spending.

As part of COVID changes, there will be no shuttle service from Waikiki to the starting line at Ala Moana Boulevard.

Registration is open until Saturday afternoon.

For a list of roadways that will be closed on Sunday due to the marathon, click here.

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