Ok, we all need an excuse to go to Maui, right? In raising awareness for childhood obesity prevention around the state, around the country and around the world, I will travel to any venue, especially if it’s in Maui to sacrifice and run for Obesity Prevention Foundation. Seriously, the race was wonderfully organized in a setting that could not possibly be any more spectacular and more beautiful. However, like many races in scenic places with limited roads, the Maui Marathon required closing down some important roadways on a Sunday morning, which required a rather early 5:30 A.M. start. This in turn led to an extraordinarily early shuttle bus ride-at 3:30 A.M. – from the lodging area where most runners were staying to the race start. So, in the dark of early morning, we runners schlepped out to the buses and rode the 26 miles to the starting and staging area. What I found most wonderful was that, in sharp contrast to many other races that involve and early morning, freezing cold, 5 A.M. start, this one involved and early morning, balmy and wonderful climate for a 5:30 A.M. start.
In Hawaiian tradition the traditional fire and knife dancers performed for all the runners and spectators at the start and staging area and before long the race horn sounded and we were off.
I left my Garmin on the mainland and instead chose to utilize an iPhone app known as Runmeter for this race. Using Runmeter gives a runner less features than a Garmin, but still provides the basics such as race pace, altitude, distance traveled and so forth. It does not have the fancy features of the full Garmin, but it still works nicely. What it does not allow, it seems, is to also stream in music using Pandora. So, I was left to utilize the other wonderful feature of modern iPhone technology, the now mundane iPod. So I spent the first hour or so in the staging area fooling around with these features and finally settled on a long set of Grateful Dead music I haven’t listened to in years and dialed it up at the start of the race.
The beginning of the race is an approximately seven mild downhill run through the isthmus portion of the island. As the sun rises over Haleakala, the large volcano on eastern Maui, the runners experience a smooth, warm tailwind and run toward the southern coast. In the distance, I could make out the brooding features of the island of Moloka’i.