Runners eyeing $15,000 Speed Challenge at Kaua‘i Marathon

Runners in the Kaua‘i Marathon coming up Sept. 4 will have an opportunity to pocket a share of $15,000 in the Kaua‘i Marathon Speed Challenge.

The Speed Challenge is one of the largest purses offered in a United States running event, states a release from the Kaua‘i Marathon.

The prize purse is based on a speed bonus program on which any runner who runs under 2:30 for male, or 2:45 for female, receives a portion of the $15,000.

If multiple runners eclipse the standard, the winner is provided a $2,500 bonus for the victory with the remaining prize money shared among all qualifying runners.

Michael Wardian, 37, of Arlington, Virginia, will return to defend his 2010 Kaua‘i Marathon title, his winning run of 2:30:52 missing the Speed Challenge by a mere 52 seconds.

Since the 2010 event, Wardian won the San Francisco Marathon, qualifying for the Olympic Trials with a 2:17:40 marathon and placed third in his debut at the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon through Death Valley, California.

His title will be on the line against Tyler McCandless who defeated Wardian at the 2011 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. MCandless’s fast marathon time in 2011 is a 2:17:15.

These two contenders will be challenged by a group of U.S.-based Kenyan athletes competing for the Duma Runner’s Cup.

James Boitt has a 2:15:15 marathon best and half marathon best of 1:04:05. His teammate, David Tuwei, sports a 2:13:44 marathon personal best from the Grandma’s Marathon in 2008.

Joining the pair of Kenyan runners is Richard Kandie who hopes to improve on last year’s Kaua‘i Marathon performance where he led from the start but failed to finish. His marathon best is 2:22:24.

Ezzhani Nazhi, 33, of Morocco has the fastest seed time in the race with a marathon personal best of 2:35:23. Rumi Otani, winning the 2011 Iwaki City Sunshine Marathon in Japan, will be challenging her as will Becki Lassley, the winner of the 2010 Kaua‘i Marathon Female, who will return to defend her title.

Online registration for the 2011 Kaua‘i Marathon continues until 11:59 p.m., Aug. 30 at Race packets, bibs and participant bags must be picked up at the runners’ expo, Sept. 2, or 3, at the Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort.

Hosts Dean Karnazes and Bart Yasso return for the 2011 Kaua‘i Marathon, making their first public appearance, Sept. 2 at the Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort.

Yasso will be at The Kaua‘i Marathon Sport and Fitness Expo from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. to sign autographs, discuss race strategies, or just “talk story” with athletes.

Karnazes will join Yasso, Sept. 3 in the Pre-race Fun Run starting at 8 a.m. on the cane haul road just past the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa.

Yasso will be available at the expo from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Karnazes will be available from 1 to 2 p.m. before participating in the Expert Panel Discussion at 2 p.m. on the Sheraton Kau}i oceanfront lawn.

Karnazes is known as the Ultra Marathon man, having completed 50 marathons in all 50 states in 50 consecutive days.

Yasso is a veteran marathoner, having worked with Runner’s World magazine since 1987 where he was influential in the development of the Runner’s World Race Sponsorship program. This program has worked with more than four million runners in 7,000 races throughout the country.

The Third Annual Kaua‘i Marathon is going to be run, Sept. 4 starting at 6 a.m. on Po‘ipu Road in front of the Po‘ipu Shopping Village.

The first 11 miles are run together before the half marathoners turn off into the Kukui‘ula resort to their oceanfront finish at the Sheraton Kaua‘i while the marathoners and relay teams head up Koloa Road through the neighborhoods of Lawa‘i and Kalaheo before returning to the Kukui‘ula resort and the oceanfront finish line.

All finishing participants receive a commemorative medallion at the marathon finisher’s party and awards ceremony which will start at 8 a.m. on the ocean front lawn of the Sheraton Kaua‘i.

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