Founded in 1994, the Kona Marathon and Half-Marathon has quickly grown into West Hawaii’s premiere road race offering all four traditional road racing distances: Marathon, 1/2 Marthon, 10K & 5K.
The 2003 event was called the Kunitake Farms, UCC Coffee Marathon, Half-marathon, and Family Fun Runs. We ran the Kona Half-Marathon June 22, 2003. Although the tropical isle is breathtaking, it also felt like the hottest place on earth.
I remember one September in San Bernardino, California, it reached 118 on two different days and it did not feel as hot as it did at the Kona, Hawaii Marathon. But then again, I wasn’t running when it was 118. However, I rode my bicycle 7 miles to work in Las Vegas when it was 118 degrees on several occasions and it still didn’t feel as hot as Kona. I guess the breeze created by riding the bike helped cool me. The Kona temperatures only reached 84 but the humidity reached 74% , the dew point was 64 and the heat felt intense!
At about mile 11, I didn’t think I would be able to finish the 13.1 miles. I stopped at a rest station, sat in a chair, and drank some ice water. Then I rubbed ice all over my face, neck, and chest. This is the only race I have ever competed in where they gave out ice. I was thankful for the ice. I beleive the ice saved me from quitting. After a short rest, I was able to continue and finish the race.