Kauai Marathon draws 140 runners to challenging cane and coffee field course

Princeville runner Walter Bono’s dream of holding a marathon on Kaua’i with an island theme has come true.

Sunday morning 140 runners took part in the first running of the new Kauai Marathon. An earlier marathon was held in the 1980s, staged by North Shore resident Larry King and his associates on the East Side of the island.

The full marathon race started at 6:30 a.m. with an even split of marathon and half-marathon runners.

Dozens of volunteers manned aid stations along the red dirt cane haul roads that served as the main section of the course.

The race began at a site near the Koloa Fire Station and turned around at the Kauai Coffee Company’s visitor center at Numila to the east of ‘Ele’ele.

The course featured two steep hill runs, one going down one coming up, with those running the full marathon facing two uphill runs.

“The event went excellent, and volunteers made the event,” said Bono.

First place in the men’s overall marathon run was Leo McCarthy, a Kaua’i-based runner. About 75 percent of the runners came from off island, Bono said, including runners from Germany, the Mainland, Spain and Canada, as well as O’ahu and other Neighbor Islands.

Ray Charron, owner of Aloha Images in Kapa’a and a veteran marathon runner and race organizer, complimented Bono on organizing the local marathon.

“The Kauai Marathon was a very well run first time event, and gave locals and tourists alike a chance to see the beauty of the south side of the island,” Charron said.

Charron took first place in the over-55 men’s event.

Much of the course crossed Alexander & Baldwin land, and runners were issued special permits to run on the land.

Bono said he drove around the island and looked for a special site to hold the race.

“I wanted a course that would be challenging and memorable, and (one) the runners would have a good feeling about when they completed it,” he said. “That’s why I picked a course that had a lot of nature attached to it.”

“No houses, no cars, no buildings-all in nature with cane and coffee fields, it was quite a pristine course,” Bono said.

He said along the course volunteers were positive and friendly towards the runners.

“A lot of friendships made at the end of the race between visitors and local residents,” he said.

The race organizer focused on adding a Kaua’i touch to the race. Race T-shirts were created by Red Dirt Shirts, local vegetables and fruits were served to runners, signs were made on Kaua’i. Finisher’s medals were molded in the shape of Kaua’i.

“Everybody had a great time, that was the goal,” said Bono. “(We’re) creating a healthy event, it’s a good thing to have on the island”

Bono designed the medals in the shape of Kaua’i.

He said marketing the race was taken care of through word of mouth on Kaua’i, and through www.KauaiMarathon.com, the Web site for the race.

Bono started organizing about the race about a year ago. He had run in the Honolulu Marathon and the Maui Marathon, and said he felt there should again be a marathon run on Kaua’i.

Jim and Cyrila Pycha, owners of Re/Max Kauai, plus Joe Taitano, Director of Human Resources from Hyatt Regency Kauai, helped Bono in organizing and staging the race.

Supporters of the event included Re/Max Kauai, the Hyatt Regency Kauai, A&B Properties, Menehune Water, Red Dirt Shirts made a custom T-shirt, Xerox Corporation and Grove Farm Co., Big Save, Safeway and Kaua’i Community College.

Bono said he’s planning to make the Kauai Marathon an annual event, and has tentatively set a race date of March 14, 2004 for the next race. He advised that runners watch the race Web site for the announcement.

“The goal for the Kaua’i Marathon is to keep it a fun event,” he said of future races. “The number of runners will always be limited so the runners will always have a good experience, I want to keep it a quality event.”

The Kauai Marathon is a member of the Road Runners Club of America.

TGI Editor Chris Cook can be reached at mailto:ccook@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 227).


KAUAI MARATHON RESULTS

Overall Mens Leo McCarthy – 3:19:12 Ray Charron – 3:25:27 Doug Asmussen – 3:27:57

Overall Ladies Janet Snyder – 3:32:04 Denise Morrison – 4:05:11 Patti Jennings – 4:14:05

Under 30 Mens Lai Rakesh – 3:51:09 Mike Reynolds – 4:00:00 Ivan Hurlburt – 4:13:43

Under 30 Womens Mya Wolf – 4:29:37 Julie Earp – 4:54:25 Sharlene Heppie – 5:15

Mens 30-55 Leo McCarthy – 3:19:12 Doug Amussen 3:27:57 Uwe Kernn – 3:28:47

Womens 30-55 Janet Snyder – 3:32:04 Denise Morrison – 4:05:11 Patti Jennings – 4:14:05

Men Over 55 Ray Charron – 3:25:27

Overall 1/2 Marathon Ian Johnson – 1:38:04 Tom Kelecy – 1:40:05 Daniel Velasco – 1:41:05

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