Kapiʻo News staff writer Cameron Enomoto completed her first marathon on Sunday. (Photo by Stanton Enomoto)

By Cameron Enomoto | Staff Writer

The Honolulu Marathon is the fourth-largest marathon in the United States and it takes place annually in December. This is the only world-class marathon that allows all runners to finish their event, meaning there is no cut-off time. The 26.2-mile course begins at Ala Moana Beach Park before making its way through downtown Honolulu and out to Hawai‘i Kai. From there, runners then have to make the trek back to Kapiʻolani Park where the finish line is set up.

This year, the Honolulu Marathon celebrated 51 years with 15,117 people completing the race. The first-place finisher, Paul Lonyangata of Kenya, came in with a time of 2 hours, 15 minutes, and 42 seconds. The final marathon participant finished at 16 hours, 59 minutes, and 39 seconds.

As part of my 2023 New Year’s resolution, I was determined to exercise more and train for the Great Aloha Run. Participating in this led me to train for the Val Nolasco Half Marathon in November and finally, the Honolulu Marathon in December. In high school, I ran long-distance track and cross country, which helped me to develop mental fortitude among other strengths. While I haven’t run competitively in over five years, I wanted to get back into the sport that I love.


Runners could see the sunrise as they passed the ocean side of Diamond Head during the marathon. (Photo by Cameron Enomoto)

Below is a collection of my internal thoughts before, throughout, and after the marathon.

4:08 a.m. – I am already looking forward to my nap after this.

4:28 a.m. – I really want a burger from Teddy’s. That sounds amazing right now.

5:03 a.m. – My tummy kind of hurts. Maybe I shouldn’t have eaten that cheesecake 2 days ago.

5:10 a.m. – I didn’t think it would take this long to get to the start line. No one is moving. This is worse than having to wait for a plane to taxi before takeoff and landing.

5:15 a.m. – I can finally see the start line but it feels like I’m being herded like cattle. The fireworks show is pretty cool though.

Mile 1 – It’s nice running at this time of day. The sun isn’t out so it’s cooler, and seeing everyone’s bobbing heads going down the street is pretty funny. I saw a guy with a marching tuba and he was playing it. I hope he’s doing the 10k run instead of the marathon. I can’t imagine how heavy it must be to carry that thing.

Mile 4 – My ankles are starting to hurt a little, so I should probably focus on how I’m running. Usually, my back starts to hurt first so this is a little surprising. I did see several people in anime costumes, which was mildly entertaining. I saw Luffy from “One Piece” and Inosuke from “Demon Slayer” so far, but I’m sure there are more people dressed up too.

Mile 9 – I still feel pretty good, and the sun came up not too long ago. I’m grateful for all of the volunteers who showed up to give out water and set up tables. It feels so awesome to have such a cool support team. Even running alongside strangers is fun. I wouldn’t mind doing this again in the future. Some girl was standing outside of her house handing out pretzels, and I grabbed a bunch. I’m so glad there are nice people like her watching the race.

Mile 13 – I lied. I would mind doing this again. I’m starting to feel more pain in my legs, and everything is tightening up. My underarms started chafing so I grabbed Vaseline from one of the aid tents. I like how they had signs saying not to eat it. Some people either don’t listen or can’t read because I watched a guy grab a popsicle stick with Vaseline on it and put it in his mouth. I feel bad for him.

Mile 20 – I desperately need a burger from Teddy’s with pepperjack cheese and jalapeños. That is the only thing keeping me going right now.

Mile 21 – I’m absolutely starving right now. Why are these last few miles so long? I swear I passed mile 21 ages ago. Everyone is walking now too so it’s difficult to stay moving.

Mile 25 – I started yawning, and one of the spectators told me I couldn’t fall asleep yet. I will knock out the second I hit my bed. This is exhausting. I don’t know why I chose to do this to myself. I can’t feel my legs or feet anymore and I just want to go home.

Mile 26 – I can finally see the finish line and I’m entering the park. This is going to be the most painful 0.2 miles of my life, but it’ll be worth it once I cross that line and get my medal.

Post Race – Yay! I can’t believe I just did that. I’m so proud of myself! I think the adrenaline will wear off soon so I should probably take painkillers before I start to feel everything. As soon as I get my finishers shirt I will be going to the closest Teddy’s location to get my victory burger. I know that burger will make the pain and suffering I endured worth it.

As I am writing this, I am almost unable to move from my couch due to the pains of chafing and muscle fatigue so I’m not even thinking about running again in the future. However, participating in the Honolulu Marathon is an unforgettable experience. I finished with a time of 6:09:23, and I am surprised that I completed the entire race. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to complete the full event, but somehow I managed to push through at the end. To anyone who is considering participating in a future marathon, it’s a fun event to be a part of, but just make sure you know exactly what you’re signing up for.