Runners take Kaua‘i Marathon to extremes

The Third Annual Kaua‘i Marathon unfolds Sunday at 6 a.m. fronting the Po‘ipu Shopping Village and Kapa‘a farmer Godwin Esaki has pledged to run the full marathon in rubber slippers.

Esaki, who recently spearheaded a campaign for rubber slippers for people affected by the March earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan, finished last year’s half marathon in rubber slippers, being inspired to run the event after delivering bananas to the event.

Esaki will be joining more than 1,500 athletes who are already registered for either the full, half, or 4-person relay marathons, states a release from the Kaua‘i Marathon.

Women make up 60.5 percent of participants while men account for 40.5 percent of the registered athletes representing 13 countries and 47 states, the release states.

Bob Brazeau will be flying in from Baghdad, Iraq to race in this year’s half marathon after becoming a dedicated runner following entering a 10K race on a dare. At age 39, Brazeau joined the U.S. Army and has already gone on two deployments.

Chris Yu will be running the full marathon barefooted, testing his endurance over the 26.2 miles of pavement making up the entirety of the full marathon course.

Robbie “Red Hat” Wilson and Yen Nguyen will make the Kaua‘i Marathon their 400th marathon.

Wilson, a resident of the United Kingdom, will be celebrating his 77th birthday on race day. Starting his first marathon at age 48, he has logged more than 12 marathons a year for the past 29 years.

Nguyen, born in Saigon, but living in Houston, Texas for the past 36 years, started running marathons in 1996 and has completed at least one marathon or ultra marathon in all 50 states, bringing her average to 2.2 marathons or ultra marathons per month.

Her husband, Peter Bennett, will celebrate his 263rd marathon at the Kaua‘i Marathon and aims to make next year’s event his 300th.

The half, full and 4-person relay starts at 6 a.m., Sunday on Po‘ipu Road fronting the Po‘ipu Shopping Village. The first 11 miles will have all participants running together before the half marathon runners turn off into Kukui‘ula Resort for their oceanfront finish.

Full marathon and relay team runners turn up Koloa Road for a route which takes them through the neighborhoods of Lawa‘i and Kalaheo before returning to the Kukui‘ula Resort route to the finish line.

All finishers receive a commemorative medallion for their efforts and the marathon finishers’ party and awards ceremony will take place on the oceanfront lawn at the Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort starting at 8 a.m. and running through the early afternoon with food, refreshments and live entertainment.

Deadline for the online registration is Aug. 30 at 11:59 PST at www.thekauaimarathon.com.

Race packets, bibs and participant bags must be picked up at the Runners Expo on Friday, or Saturday, at the Sheraton Kaua‘i Resort.

Visit www.thekauaimarathon.com for more information.

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