The pre dawn sky just an hour before the start of the Kauai Marathon twinkled majestically over the South Shore. The constellation Taurus spread out across the sky with points of its horn competing with a moon that only days earlier was in a blue phase.
I wondered how many of the participants at this years race were dreaming of Hawaiian skies and gentle trades when there was a formidable challenge in front of them. How does one prepare? Pre race rituals are as varied as body types. Some stretching newly awoken muscles in an effort to kick start tired tendons. While others were at the buffet line downing coffee and pastries seeking a sugary caffeine jolt to propel them through at least the first half of the race.
Have you noticed how runners seem almost giddy to test their endurance on one of the more difficult courses in the country. Is it the promise of massive amounts of naturally produced endorphins soon to be overwhelming them? Or is it the caffeine? Perhaps its the dream of a lifetime. Running on Kauai and experiencing the joy of being in one of the prettiest spots in the world and doing something they love.
For some of the nearly 1850 runners who came in hopes of taking home some of the $15,000 dollars in prize money, there is a serious side. Kauai’s diverse micro environments presents challenges that happily they do not encounter on the mainland. Running through rain forests with Golden Pothos or devil’s ivy, hanging from water soaked branches more reminiscent of a Brothers Grimm fable than a road race. Their wide leaves blocking any trade wind breeze to push them up the nearly 20% incline. Heavy moisture dense air that requires effort to inhale.
In typical rain forest fashion the heavens opened up and the brief but heavy downpour soaked all, adding extra weight to sodden shoes. However, the overcast skies on the majority of the course was a blessing for many. Jess told me that the rainbows were well worth it and the clouds kept the burning South shore sun under wraps.
Would we see a course record? Conditions were more favorable than last year. Overcast skies reduce body temperatures by a couple of degrees but would that be enough for the elite runners to tame the hilly course?
Unfortunately it was not to be. Tyler McCandless missed his goal of shattering the course record by just 33 seconds. The last mile of the race saw McCandless, knowing that he was behind his 2011 record time laid it all on the line and completed the last mile well under a 5 minute pace. He collapsed just after crossing the finish line.
Here are some photos to enjoy of the Kauai Marathon 2012:
The best part of any community road race are the fun loving sweat junkies who show their Aloha for Kauai and are just happy to be living in the most beautiful island in the world. Here are a few more snaps from this morning.
Let’s not forget the realities of running the Kauai Marathon, it can be painful for some. Fortunately the race organizers have the help of many talented Kauai residents who volunteer their skills each year.
Next year’s race is scheduled for September 1, 2013. We hope to see you here for one of the best Kauai events of the season. Visiting Kauai is one of the best things to do. Where is your favorite place to run?
Here is the video start of the 2012 Kauai Marathon