Thousands lace up for highly anticipated return of the Honolulu Marathon

With early-morning fireworks and thousands of eager runners, the Honolulu Marathon made a grand return Sunday.
Published: Dec. 12, 2021 at 4:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With early-morning fireworks and thousands of eager runners, the Honolulu Marathon made a grand return Sunday.

Hawaii’s biggest road race was canceled last year like every other large-scale event over pandemic concerns. This year it was also scaled back with only about 9,000 signing up to run either the full marathon or the Race to the Park 10K.

In past years more than 20,000 have taken part.

Fireworks greeted runners at the starting line before dawn, Sunday.
Fireworks greeted runners at the starting line before dawn, Sunday.(HNN)

Travel restrictions still in place for some countries are partly to blame as there were less international runners, especially those from Japan.

Two other notable changes at this year’s race were that both the water stations and the medal grab were self-serve. Shuttles to bring people to the starting line were also unavailable.

In the winner’s circle, a pair of international runners led the pack, putting up impressive times.

Kenya’s Emmanuel Saina took home the first overall finish for the men with an impressive clip of 2 hours, 14 minutes and 32 seconds.

“My first experience here, my training meet, my last edition, and I was hoping also to put up much better minutes, of which I did today. I feel so great, I like the place, very good,” he said after crossing the finish line.

On the women’s side, Canada’s Lanni Marchant clinched the top spot with a skillful time of 2 hours, 41 minutes and 25 seconds. It was a proud accomplishment for her as the race marked a return to running after a hip injury.

“Yeah it’s amazing. You never know when you have major injuries or illnesses what running is going to look like after that, so that I’ve been able to work my way back has been something to be really excited about,” Marchant said.

The second and third place finishers for the men were a pair from the Big Island. It was the first time local residents finished in the top three since the 1970s.

Rounding out the top three on the women’s side were runners from Nashville and Colorado.

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