It was a great fun race. Good course, plenty of water during the race. Crowds and fireworks at the start provided a good atmosphere. At the end of the race there was no water, no sports drinks no liquids. Not Good. Malasadas did not make up for it.
It is crowded at the start as you go through town so don't look for a fast time. The course is mostly flat with just a slight hill at the end but feels a lot bigger after 25 miles in 80 degree weather.
If you are looking for a discount condo rentals are the way to go and there are many along Waikiki near the start/finish.
By Jan Johnson about 2013
What's not to like about a run in Hawaii? The race starts promptly at 5AM with a cannon shot and fireworks. The masses are SUPPOSED TO BE split up by expected finish time, but after having run this race 6 times in a row now, it never happens. Expect to duck and dodge walkers and extremely slow joggers for the better part of the first 2 miles. Not a big deal. Run with a little Aloha in your step. :-)
A previous commenter mentioned having to walk a mile to get his shirt. Not so. Granted, after running 26.2 miles, the extra .12 miles (measured by my Garmin) may seem like a mile but it's not. For a race that usually boasts about 25-28,000 participants, keeping the finish line area clear and not cluttered with hobbling finishers is a big key.
The finish area tents in Kapiolani Park are spread out nicely to keep crowds from interfering with each other. A few years ago people commented on the lack of decent food after the race, so they listened and delicious fresh made malasadas (Portuguese Donuts) are now a welcome staple along with bananas, oranges, muffins and cookies.
The route itself doesn't have any food stations with the exception of a few gel stations. This isn't really a huge deal breaker to me because I bring my own snacks along on the race with me.
Water and gatorade stops are abundant along the course. I've never had any complaints about that. The old dipping cups into trashcans of gatorade thing is a thing of the past, and they now boast these octopus looking dispensers. This makes things much more hygenic in my opinion.
All in all, I love this race. I live out here so I'm able to take advantage of another AWESOME thing the race directors offer to us "locals". $1 per mile early signups. I challenge anybody to show another major race that can beat a $26.20 signup for a full marathon. :-)
If you're only visiting Hawaii for the marathon and are staying in Waikiki in one of the hotels, just walk to the starting line in the morning. Plug Ala Moana Shopping Center into your GPS and just walk. Driving in Waikiki even at 3 in the morning on race day is a nightmare.
Bring sunblock. The race starts at 5AM, but the sun will be up high enough to start burning you by 8. Especially on the long straight stretch to and from Hawaii Kai. That stretch of highway is unforgiving with very little shade.
Around mile 8, understand that you may have to have a bit of patience going up diamond head since the race course gets squished down to one single lane of traffic since the two lane road going up Diamond Head also serves as the home stretch when you're coming back. Usually around the time I hit that mark, the first wheelchair dudes are cruising down towards the finish, and by the time I get to the top where a lot of people stop to take pictures of the sunrise, the guy that's going to win the whole thing is passing by.
I don't know what else to say about this awesome race. They've had 40 years of learning how to make it better, so you'd think they'd have it perfected by now, but somehow they keep making it better every year.
Walk to the starting line if you're staying in Waikiki.
After the race, hobble your sore self over to the beach and soak in the ocean for a while. Salt water does amazing things for your aching muscles. And remember, you're in friggen Hawaii. Slow down a notch or two and just enjoy it. If somebody gets in your way, shrug it off. YOU'RE IN HAWAII!!!
By Anonymous about 2012
Course was great. Lack of snacks or anything other than water on the entire course. Had to walk almost another mile after the race to receive finishers shirt.