The Kauai Marathon

Kauai Marathon 2013

Kauai Marathon 2013

“The marathon is a charismatic event. It has everything. It has drama. It has competition. It has camaraderie. It has heroism. Every jogger can’t dream of being an Olympic champion, but he can dream of finishing a marathon.” ~ Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

Every year for the past 5 years, the Kauai Marathon takes place over Labor Day weekend on the gorgeous sunny side of the island in Poipu!!! The runners fly in from all parts of the world a few days early to take part in the pre-marathon activities which include: carb loading dinners, packet pick-ups, group warm-ups, runs and much more.

Packet Pick Up - Grand Hyatt Kauai

Packet Pick Up – Grand Hyatt Kauai

“The thirst you feel in your throat and lungs will be gone minutes after the race is over. The pain in your legs within days, but the glory of your finish will last forever.” ~ unknown

Sign Up for the 6th Annual Kauai Marathon & Half Marathon

It all starts off with the Sports & Fitness Expo at the Grand Hyatt Kauai in Poipu! For 2014, the Expo will be on Friday, August 29 and Saturday, August 30. The Grand Hyatt resort is located in Poipu close to the start and finish lines. The Hyatt also will be hosting the Registration, Keiki Run, and Fun Run. It’s Packet Pick-up time!!! My husband gets very excited about picking up his packet. Off we go to the Expo to get the Kauai Marathon bag full of goodies. Our daughter purchased a new fuel belt. Our son kept busy in a jump roping contest at one of the booths at the Expo. There is an array of athletic products ranging from gels, Gu, fuel belts, sunglasses, visors, and clothing to RockTape & compression socks. There is something for everyone. If you forgot to pack it, no worries, it will most likely be there. Get to the Expo early to ensure you can purchase what you need before it’s gone. Just like the race itself, the Expo is small and intimate – perfect for Kauai! We have traveled to much larger marathons where the Expo is located in a convention center.

While the Hyatt is one of our favorite resorts on island, this blog is all about how to travel on budget. Explore your options, as there are many condos and homes to rent in Poipu as well as other hotels which are not as expensive. We love the Sheraton Kauai Resort due to the family-friendly environment and, most importantly, they have a great beach for boogie boarding and body surfing right next to the pool. The hotel will book up far in advance for the marathon weekend. Check out our post on the Sheraton Kauai Resort at

Kauai Marathon 2012

Kauai Marathon 2012

6 a.m. is start time! As you make your way on the course through Koloa, Omao and Kalaheo, you will feel the support from volunteers at the aid stations located at each mile with water and energy drinks. Residents will come out of their homes to get into the street and cheer you on through each town. On the marathon route, you will pass Hula dancers, musicians, cheerleaders, parents, kids and dogs standing by rooting on the runners. Feel the support of Kauai as you pass through each town!

In 2013, the 5th Annual Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon featured over 1,700 participants from 13 countries! 170 youth runners participated in the first Keiki Race at the Kauai Marathon. 911 residents of the Aloha State participated in the Marathon, with 615 representing Kauai. Tyler McCandless, three-time defending champion, broke his course record in 2013 and won $15,000. Tyler showed true Aloha spirit by offering running clinics around the island and even gave away Newton Running shoes!


Kauai Marathon 2013

“I’ve learned that finishing a marathon isn’t just an athletic achievement. It’s a state of mind; a state of mind that says anything is possible.” ~ John Hanc, running writer



Kauai Marathon 2014

Kauai Marathon 2013


13 year old runners

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.” ~ Kathrine Switzer, women’s marathoning pioneer

IMG_6945The Kauai Marathon is a family friendly event, welcoming participants of all ages. Our daughter and her friend, both 13 years old, participated in the Kauai Marathon (half) in 2013. Moms and dads run while pushing joggers with their little ones inside. The finish line is an easy place to watch for your runner without being pushed and shoved by crowds. As the running manager, which I call myself, it is important to have room to put your things down, set up a chair and be able to take pictures as the runners pass by. Not to mention, the finish line is oceanfront!!! Not a bad place to wait for your runner to cross the finish line. It seems that every year it rains at some point during the race, but then again, that is Kauai. It’s a great idea to bring an umbrella if you are awaiting someone at the finish line. Be sure to stay for the rainbow!!!

Kauai Marathon 2012

Kauai Marathon 2012

“I tell our runners to divide the race into thirds. Run the first part with your head, the middle part with your personality, and the last part with your heart.” ~ Mike Fanelli, running club coach

I love the picture above because it depicts a true “final stretch” moment. Most of the marathon photographs which I have taken are post-run when everyone is smiling, drinking a beer and wearing their medals with pride. In this photograph, he was definitely pushing hard and in pain on the final stretch. Go Rob!!!!

Kauai Marathon 2011

Kauai Marathon 2011

“Few things in life match the thrill of a marathon.” ~ Fred Lebow

Check out the Panel Discussion on Saturday, day before race. Some of the previous years panel guests include: Bart Yasso, Rich Hanna, Dean Karnazes, JT Service (1st year’s winner), and Mike Wardian (2nd year’s winner).

Kauai Marathon 2010

Kauai Marathon 2010

“The difference between the mile and the marathon is the difference between burning your fingers with a match and being slowly roasted over hot coals.” ~ Hal Higdon, running writer and coach

The finish line is a celebration on the lawn with ocean view. Does it get better than that? Probably not. Not when you add 85 degree weather. EachIMG_6990 runner’s name and hometown are announced as they cross the finish. Runners are greeted with their medals just past the finish line. Take part in a free massage, foot rub, or first aid station if needed. Move on to the lawn of vendors which include Jamba Juice, beer station, potato chips, fresh fruit, and yogurt. Did I mention it is all FREE? Walk around or sit down and relax in the sun while the emcee interviews runners, issues awards and announces updates as the runners are still crossing the finish line.



Kauai Marathon 2009

“I don’t think about the miles that are coming down the road, I don’t think about the mile I’m on right now, I don’t think about the miles I’ve already covered. I think about what I’m doing right now, just being lost in the moment.” ~ Ryan Hall, U.S Olympic marathoner

Run for local charities!!! The Kauai Marathon generates money for local charities which include: Kauai Food Bank, local high-school programs, national nonprofits, A-T Children’s Project and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training program, and Give’r for Liver of the Canadian Liver Foundation, have all partnered with the Kauai Marathon to raise money for their organizations.

Kauai Divas & Dudes

Kauai Divas & Dudes

“I love Kauai marathon, the route is amazing, the spectators are supportive; but most of all it’s the volunteers. I run so many races and the volunteers are what makes this race amazing to run. It is so organized and they are extremely supportive, standing at the water stations. You have hula girls, Taiko Drums and just laughter & support…it makes this tough course worth running. This is by far one of the toughest courses we have ran, but it’s something magical that makes us come back. Of course it’s in our backyard. Kauai Divas & Dudes love the Kauai Marathon!” ~ Lisa Ledesma, Kauai Resident & Ironman 

For more information on how to sign up for the Kauai Marathon, visit

5wheelsto5star was featured in the March & April 2014 issue of Destinations Travel Magazine



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