Chebet, Chepkirui seek to reclaim Honolulu titles
The Honolulu Marathon may be the fourth-largest marathon in America, but it’s most certainly the most scenic.
And it’s quite laid-back, its famous “no time limit” rule attracting the slowest of fun runners who cherish back-marking the 42 kilometres under no pressure, unlike the business-like Boston, Chicago and New York marathons.
At Honolulu, the roads remain closed almost all day unlike in the other marathons where time limits of eight hours, on average, are pencilled for road closures.
Things won’t be any different today when the beautiful island of Hawaii hosts the 46th Honolulu Marathon with a field of 27,000 expected, including 87-year-old Roger Hauge who will be on the fourth leg of his challenge to compete in 50 marathons in the 50 US states.
At least half a dozen elites have been drafted, most of them Kenyans, including previous winners Wilson Chebet and Joyce Chepkirui.
Chebet -- a three-time Amsterdam Marathon champion, a feat that earned him the nickname “Mr Amsterdam” -- is one of Kenya’s most consistent marathoners.
He has competed in Honolulu four times, winning once in 2014 with a time of two hours, 15 minutes and 35 seconds.
He will be hoping to reclaim the title after coming close last year, finishing second (2:09:54) to course record-breaking Lawrence Cherono (2:08:27).
In the women’s division today, Joyce Chepkirui, 30, will be looking to reclaim the title she won twice, in 2014 and 2015.
Brigid Kosgei is the defending champion, having shattered the course record last year setting the fresh bar at 2:22:15.
Chebet hopes to recover from the disappointment of dropping out in Frankfurt in October.
He looked relaxed yesterday during a pre-race elite athlete photo shoot on the famous Waikiki Beach, adjacent to the US Army Museum where a 77th anniversary gathering commemorating Japan’s invasion of USA was being held by the army’s Pacific Division formation.
His aim is to win the race, with time secondary given the tough course.
“If you want to run a fast time, like a personal best time, then races in Europe like the Amsterdam Marathon will suit you fine,” said Chebet who completed a rare Rotterdam and Amsterdam double in 2011.
“In America, it’s very difficult to run a good time. Honolulu is not a flat course, it’s a bit hilly.
“I’ve been struggling here in Honolulu, winning once and finishing second the rest of the times so my aim this time is just to win the race.
“I’m told it will be windy, but I’ve trained very well and I should be ok.”
Left to right: Kenyan athletes Charles Cheruiyot, Wilson Chebet and Vincent Yator relax at Waikiki Beach yesterday ahead of today’s Honolulu Marathon.