LIHUE — Runners are not only eyeing the Kauai Marathon record, but also a share of the $15,000 Speed Challenge purse.
“The 2013 Kauai Marathon features the most fiercely-contested elite fields in the history of the event,” said Robin Jumper, a publicist for the Kauai Marathon. “A strong contingent of United States athletes, both male and female, have committed to race to compete for the Grand Hyatt Kauai $15,000 Speed Challenge.”
Under conditions of the Speed Challenge, the financial incentive is split by any male runner finishing the full marathon course in under 2:23.19, the current course record, and any female runner finishing in under 2:45.
Tyler McCandless, a 27-year-old from Colorado who captured the 2011 and 2012 Kauai Marathon, is returning to defend his title while attempting to break his own course record.
Joining him in the battle to best the course record is Jorge Maravilla, 35, a crowd favorite.
The veteran running pair will be joined by newcomers Michael Chavez, 28, of Fort Collins, Colo. and Time Aukshunas, 30, of Seattle, who are both capable of besting the course record sharing of the Speed Challenge purse.
Chavez boasts a personal-best marathon time of 2:16:13, which he pocketed at the U.S. Olympic Time Trials in 2012.
Aukshunas’ best marathon time is 2:26:17, which was earned during the Long Beach International Marathon.
The runner from the Iwaki City Sunshine Marathon, Hirotaka Furuse, is also in the mix for the Speed Challenge with a run time of 2:28:17.
Michael Wardian of Arlington, Va., the winner of the 2010 Kauai Marathon, rounds out the field of men runners. Wardian has more than 100 marathon events under his belt, along with a number of ultra marathons and triathlons from around the world.
Devon Yanko, 31, of San Anselmo, Calif., will be returning after pocketing a time of 2:44:02 during the 2012 San Francisco Marathon. More recently she topped the Oakland Running Festival Marathon with a course record time of 2:47:24. Yanko’s marathon personal best is 2:38:55, but she has experienced most of her success during the ultra distances with wins at the JFK 50 Miler, the USA 50 Mile Championships and the USA 100k Championships.
Yanko finished the 2012 Kauai Marathon second to Brett Ely.
She will be tested in 2013 by strength runner Nicole Chyr, 35, of Englewood, Colo. who recently won the Colfax Marathon in Denver, Colo., in May with a record time of 2:57:18.
Online registration for the Kauai Marathon will end at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Aug. 29. All race bibs, race packets and participant bags must be picked up at the Sports and Fitness Expo taking place at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa on Aug. 30 and Aug. 31.
The 5th annual Kauai Marathon will start at 6 a.m. on Sept. 1. The marathon and half-marathon events start on Poipu Road fronting the Poipu Shopping Village with the first 11 miles being run together.
At the end of 11 miles, the half marathoners turn into the Kukuiula Resort to its oceanfront finish while the full marathon runners head up Koloa Road into the neighborhoods of Lawai and Kalaheo before returning back to Poipu.
The marathon finishers’ party and awards ceremony will take place on the ocean front lawn at the Sheraton Kauai Resort, where the finish line will be situated. Race participants and their supporters can enjoy food, refreshments and live entertainment until the early afternoon.
Visit www.thekauaimarathon.com for more information, or to register by Aug. 29.
• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or email@example.com.