First-time marathoners’ goal is just to finish

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Tyler McCandless, with seven Kauai Marathons under his belt, talks to Kauai Marathon participants about the course Friday during the Wilcox Health Sports and Fitness Expo at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Poipu.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Shoppers look for Kauai Marathon gear Friday during the Wilcox Heath Sports and Fitness Expo at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Poipu.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Kauai Marathon participants scour the registration board to find their names Friday during the Wilcox Health Sports and Fitness Expo where the marathoners could obtain their race packets at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Poipu.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Dr. Joel Punzal and the crew of Punzal Vision watch and cheer as Shaylyn Silva cranks out a smoothie on the Wilcox Health blender bike Friday during the health sports and fitness expo at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Poipu.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    First-time Kauai Marathoners Roxanne Vidinha, left, and Vicky Braun, right, learn the ropes from Rona Miura, Friday during the Wilcox Health Sports and Fitness Expo at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Poipu, where marathoners could pick up their race packets and chips. The expo continues today and the Kauai Marathon will take off Sunday morning in Poipu.

POIPU — Roxanne Vidinha said her goal in The Kauai Marathon is to just finish.

“This is the first time I’m doing this,” Vidinha said. “We’re learning from the professionals, and my goal is to just finish.”

Vidinha was with Vicky Braun, who is part of a team of walkers led by Rona Miura, who has six marathons to her credit.

“This is is the big one,” said Braun, another first-time participant. “What better way to get started than the 10th one?”

The trio of walkers is only part of the Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon field, which is expected to reach a record-high 2,300 participants by the time the race starts at 6 a.m Sunday fronting Poipu Shopping Village.

“This is pretty exciting,” said Jeff Sacchini, Kauai Marathon founder. “Between what is already registered, and we’ll pick up a few more entries through the Wilcox Health Sports and Fitness Expo, we should be reaching close to 2,300 people.”

The expo offers participants an opportunity to speak with marathon dignitaries, buy running gear, learn about new products and tips and, more importantly, pick up their individual race packets that include the all-important bib number.

“You should have been here earlier,” said Leesha Kawamura, a veteran of every Kauai Marathon. “We had all of the 10-year runners — Hamilton Florendo, Agnes Largo, LeeAnn Apao, Pualani Rezentes and Edmon Battulayan — here picking up their race packets and shopping. My goal this year is to actually just have fun, and finish safely. Usually, we’re so serious about time and time cuts. After 10 years, I think it’s about time we just have fun.”

Tyler McCandless, setting the Kauai Marathon course record in 2011 with a run of 2 hours, 23 minutes, and 19.9 seconds, is also running his eighth race, the half marathon.

McCandless is a three-time winner of the Kauai Marathon and four-time winner of the Kauai Half Marathon.

He was one of the marathon dignitaries talking to participants about the rigorous half-marathon course that snakes up Maluhia Road through the Tree Tunnel before descending on Omao Road and the western bypass road and finishing at Koloa Landing.

“I’ve got my eye on the Chicago Marathon coming Oct. 7,” McCandless said. “It would help if I can take a few minutes off my time from last year.”

JT Service, winner of the first Kauai Marathon in 2009, was introduced by Sacchini, the winner noting that he comes to help by announcing the Keiki Race that takes place this morning at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort &Spa.

“I came back for the Kauai Marathon, too,” said the Rev. Wesley Elmore, retired from Lihue United Church. “I live in California now, but came back to do the marathon. I did the half marathon five years ago. This time, I get to enjoy the 40th Labor Day Breakfast at the Lihue United Church, too. The big difference is I’m a guest this time, not a worker.”

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.

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