After running the Kalakaua Merrie Mile on Saturday, followed by the Honolulu Marathon on Sunday, I have this to say: the mile really is merry! Way more fun than a marathon! So much easier! A whole lot of spirit and perhaps one of the best races around. I saw young and old enjoying themselves as they ran out and back on Kalakaua Avenue, the start and finish at Kapiolani Park. I watched some of the world’s best milers square off in the elite race. It was a terrific way to spend a morning!
And as for the full 26.2-mile marathon, well, I can’t describe it as merry or fun, as there is always pain involved in a marathon. But it does overflow with aloha and that is one of the reasons, for the fourth straight year, I returned to Oahu to run it. I love being part of it.
I can’t claim I had a spectacular race, but it wasn’t a disaster, either. I finished in 3 hours, 52 minutes and 38 seconds, which put me 724th overall out of about 20,000 finishers, 28th in my age group (55-59) and 600th out of 10,338 in my gender. It was five minutes faster than last year’s time, but nine minutes slower than my personal best recorded in 2016 and 2017.
The highlight was the run/walk method (run a mile or so at race pace, then walk about a minute) I tried and it seemed to work as I covered the second half faster than the first half. Always feels good to finish well and the prior two years, I slowed dramatically in the final miles and I wanted to avoid that.
But this year’s story of the Honolulu Marathon belongs to someone who didn’t run it or the Merrie Mile and who doesn’t even like to run: My wife, Marianne.
She walked many, many miles or so over 2 days chasing me around, supporting me in my madness or trying to find me. I told her later, she might as well have participated in the marathon. She is, without doubt, the best wife a runner could have.
She walked, either with me or alone:
• Friday night: About a mile from the bus stop near Ala Moana Center to the convention center to pick up my race numbers, then a half-mile or so to our friends’ condo overlooking the Ala Wai Canal.
• Saturday morning, about two miles to the Merrie Mile starting line and another two miles back later on. Lots of random wandering around at the beach, so add another half mile or so.
• Saturday afternoon, about a half-mile to the convention center to check our the runner’s expo and the Christmas festival and again, plenty of meandering about. Then, a half mile back.
• Sunday morning, about a mile and a half to the marathon starting line near Ala Moana Beach Park, and another mile and a half back to the condo. Then, two miles to the finish line and probably another mile or so between trying to find me after the run and then to find the T-shirts and post-race malasadas.
• Sunday morning, we visited the Honolulu Zoo. Probably walked, oh, two miles total to check out all the exhibits (A pretty good zoo. I recommend it).
• Sunday afternoon, back to the finish line from the zoo so I could watch people finish, about a half mile.
• Sunday afternoon, two miles back to the condo, and lots of zigzagging around to the beach and a restaurant and into shops, so really, more like two and half miles.
• Monday morning, about a mile to the bus stop.
All told, I figure my wife logged — without once complaining or even giving me a dirty glance — close to 20 miles — up, down and around thousands of people and random obstacles on hot, sunny days. She didn’t get a medal, a T-shirt, cheers or applause or have her name called out at the finish line. But she deserves all that. Not just for all those miles, but for putting up with me and my insistence on traveling by plane, bus, and foot so I can run in races. I’m not sure who suffers more when I run marathons — me or my wife.
But one thing is clear after all that: I believe she has the mindset to be a fine runner and I’m pretty sure a marathon, or at least the Merrie Mile, is in her future.
Just don’t tell her I told you so.