Nitty Gritty Details
1 Reviews for Big Island International Marathon
I selected this marathon because I was visiting my 50th state and wanted to make it memorable. It was memorable that's for sure.
I registered for it in November online. The online registration was easy enough, but be warned that it is not accurate. The pre-race luau is held on Friday night, not Saturday night. I discovered this an hour after the luau started and joined it in progress. A number of other runners who had also paid for it didn't make it and were not offered a refund. We don't understand why someone would schedule the carb loading for two nights before the marathon, but apparently it's always that way.
You pick up your race packet on Saturday at the expo which was pretty decently attended by a variety of retailers and organizations. The info packet didn't provide much detail for the runners, and the people working registration couldn't answer even basic questions.
While the race started at 6am, shuttles to the start were offered beginning at 4:30am with the last one at 5am. I skipped the 4:30am bus, and the 4:45am bus never showed. Fortunately two buses showed at 5am so we were able to fit all the runners without needing to stand. When we reached the drop off point, people milled around without any guidance as to where we needed to be or what was going on. Gatorade was offered there, and if you wanted water you were allowed to get it from the kitchen faucet. When they did go to make announcements they just shouted it without a megaphone so most people couldn't hear what was being said.
At the start you had both full and half marathon runners. It wasn't overly crowded with around 600 runners, so it wasn't hard to reach your pace early. The race began before sunrise, but there was enough light for you to see. The course was advertised as not having a lot of elevation change, but it was actually a lot of rolling hills. There were two steep climbs around mile 4 and mile 8. By the time the half-marathoners turned around, the course had pretty much leveled out to be a flat course.
There were definitely not enough aid stations along the course. Fortunately there were a few houses along the course that offered beer, soda or candy to the runners. The official aid stations had water and gatorade. Some of the course was out and back or a loop, so you did have opportunities to cross the street to get a second hit of water if you had the foresight to do it. (I was dehydrated around mile 17 and needed extra fluids. Some other runners were too but didn't realize they could run across the street.)
The weather along the run was a mix of misty rain, full rain, cloudy shade and bright sun. Temperature was in the 70s. The course itself was mainly roads varying from asphalt to cement, with a mix of highway and residential areas. As you come in for the end, you actually have to run past the finish line and loop back to get the full mileage. Some runners complained about this. There was no one at the loop back point to direct you that you were to turn there, which was more of a sore point with me than having to loop back.
Reaching the finish as a first-timer, I had no idea what was going on. They pull your number and you get your medal, but then you have to wait for a paper printout with your times before going and getting your shirt. (I had to ask another runner what he was just handed to find out what was going on.) The food was excellent with fruit, chips, cookies and sweet bread (three flavors!). They also had massage stations set up too. I saw no EMS along the course or at the end of the course, and as a paramedic I was wanting them to be there since I knew I had gone hypoglycemic at one point on the race. (We were told up front to bring our own Gu or food, which I had but they still should've had EMS patrolling the course since they didn't have aid stations at every mile.)
Half-way through the award ceremony, they announced that they forgot to give out gifts to the first and second place winners and asked them to come back at the end. Then later they announced they forgot to give out a different set of gifts to all the runners and told us to come up and get them at the end. Most of the runners hadn't stuck around for the awards, so most people didn't get them. (This goes to show the poor organization that merits the rating I gave this race.) One other sore point with the runners is that the finish is a mile away from the race hotel which we run by twice during the course, and we're on our own to get back to it after the race.
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