2011 Maui Marathon
By Sarah Pacheco
Photo courtesy of Maui Marathon Hawaii
During your next trip to Maui, hit the ground running — literally —and sign up to take part in this fall's Maui Marathon. Regarded by many as one of the most scenic courses in the world, the Maui Marathon takes participants on a scenic tour past many of the island's most famous landmarks.
The marathon begins at Queen Kaahumanu Center in Kahului with a Hawaiian blessing and conch shell-blowing performance. After the starter's gun goes off at 5:30 a.m., participants set out on a 26.2-mile journey that runs along sugarcane fields, rolling hills and miles upon miles (17 miles to be exact) of oceanfront highway.
Whether you choose to walk or run, be sure to bring a camera to the capture the picturesque sights you'll encounter along the way, including a sunrise over Haleakala, the extinct off-shore volcanic crater Molokini, the West Maui Mountains and views of neighboring islands Lanai, Molokai and Kahoolawe, once a U.S. Navy bombing target now being maintained by the federal government.
Other attractions to return to later in your visit are the Maui Ocean Center, the resort towns Wailea and Makena, and the historic whaling village of Lahaina, home to the largest number of restaurants, art galleries and shops on the island.
As the roar of ocean waves and cheers of spectators propel you toward the finish line, you'll pass the world-famous Kaanapali Resort and end at Whalers Village, where you'll be greeted with a lei, finisher's medallion and refreshments.
The 41st annual Maui Marathon takes place Sunday, Sept. 18.
Those looking for a shorter race experience can also participate in a half-marathon (also on Sunday, Sept. 18), Maui Tacos 5K Run/Walk, inaugural Maui Go Red For Women Ambassador 5K Walk or Run Forrest Fun Front Street Mile (all on Saturday, Sept. 17).
Or become a kukini, an elite class of runners hand-selected by ali'i (royalty), by completing both the one-mile and 5K races on Saturday, along with the half- or full marathon on Sunday.
Visit mauimarathonhawaii.com to view course maps, get price and registration deadlines, see photos from last year's race and download an application.
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