Big Island Half Marathon

After planning to spend two weeks on the Big Island of Hawaii I decided that I better make good use of my time and I signed up to do the Big Island International Half Marathon in Hilo.

I collected my race pack the day before the event and was ready for a 5am wake up and a 6:30am start to the run. I had been told that the course was about a 50:50 split of gradients and flat surfaces, but the scenery would be worth the hills. After enjoying a quick breakfast in the hostel I joined Rachel Martin as we headed to the start line.

The sun was still half an hour away from rising and I hoped that the Hilo sky wouldn’t rain on our parade. Just before the starting gun was sounded I felt a few drops of water on my shoulders and heard someone comment that rain was inevitable.

The starting gun went off and I jogged along the foreshore, turning back to watch the sun rise over the ocean. The first two kilometres were flat and so I tried to get myself into a good rhythm without burning out too quickly. Shortly after the slight hills started and so I slowed to a quick walk and headed up the road.

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The route took us alongside the highway before turning right to go along the coastal road and past a popular surfing spot. The road then went downhill so I broke into a run again as I entered a rainforest. The roads wound around and after stopping to take a quick photo of a waterfall I trudged along up the road and was cheering on fellow runners who were struggling. At the water station I asked one of the volunteers if there was a toilet nearby and he just laughed at the fact I called it a toilet.

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As I continued along I started seeing some of the first marathoners coming towards me as they headed back towards the main area. There was a brief relief from the humidity as it started sprinkling, only to be followed by a torrential downpour as I reached the turnaround point.

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I ran back down the hill through the rainforest before hitting the coast again. UI started feeling cold as the wind was blowing a gale and I was soaking wet. I slowed to a fast walk and trudged along back to the main race area. I kept on running the downhills and walking the uphills but by the time I got back to the flat area my shins were hurting from the impact of running on the road. I decided to follow an older lady in alternating between running and walking on a minute on-minute off basis.

We had to run past the main area and the finish line to do another 3km loop around some beautiful gardens but I wanted to just finish. My hip was feeling sore from running and each step I took was painful. I pushed on and kept alternating between a jog and a walk. I was not feeling great as my wet arms were rubbing on my Camelbak, causing chafing, and I was just exhausted.

As I rounded the corner to the finish line I knew I had a slight chance of making it in under 3 hours so I sprinted. I crossed the finish line in 3 hours and 14 seconds. I accepted my medal and went to sit and stretch out my hip flexor. I was disappointed in having missed out on my goal by a measly 15 seconds. My hamstrings and hip flexors were on fire but I’m happy that I did the run.

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Event: Big Island International Half Marathon

Type: Fun Run

Distance: 21.1km

Location: Hilo, Hawaii (USA)

Date: 20 March 2016

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