Kauai is a small island by most standards. We have roughly 67,000 full time residents, a speed limit that tops out at 50mph, upwards of a dozen one lane bridges and most roads are one lane each direction. I’m not complaining—I love it. There are certainly some drawbacks to small island living, but there are most definitely more perks.
Today was the 4th Annual Kauai Marathon, and it’s the most amazing event to participate in. The organizers do a spectacular job, but it’s the volunteers and general public who make it the most fun and unique event I’ve experienced anywhere.
The race begins with flaming Tiki torches and Conch blowers in the predawn tropical light. At the start of the race there is no hint of the potential fatigue that climbing and descending the hills ahead might bring.
The course for both the ½ and full marathons runs through varying terrain and elevation changes, from ocean front, pasture land and forest to neighborhoods. People come out en mass to cheer on the runners. Families, couples and singles with their dogs set up tents on the side of the road to joyfully offer encouragement. Homemade signs are displayed with advice like, “FASTER” and “You can do it” on cardboard while on-lookers ring cow bells, shake noise makers and wave big foam fingers. Some kind people even set up their own drink stands between the official race-aid stations—because they can!
Hula Halaus bring out their dancers to hula on the side of the course and at aid stations. Musicians set up their own generators to power amplifiers and play slack key guitar and sing, and kids and adults alike gather along the way playing ukulele. Even the local group “Taiko Kauai” sets up camp at the bottom of a valley to drum the runners past the 10 mile marker. The deep resonate sound of the synchronized drums calling you forward and sending you on somehow makes you feel lighter.
This is the Kauai I love. Where people simply show up for each other! My deep appreciation and heart-felt gratitude go out to everyone who showed up today to make my race perfect—even though I didn’t win! Much Mahalo!!!
Joyfully and with warmest aloha, Kim