The Honolulu Marathon offers 26.2 miles of beautiful scenery for participants. The event held annually in mid December attracted over 22,000 entrants this year, about half of which came from Japan.
The event begins at Magic Island where runners, walkers and wheelchair athletes gather at the starting line. At 5:00, fireworks burst through the dark sky as the marathon begins. The masses move as one for the first mile or so then begins to spread out.
Downtown, Honolulu City Lights festival is in full swing. Honolulu Hale is decked out with lawn displays, twinkling lights and towering Shaka Santa and Mrs. Claus wave as we go by. Iolani Palace is festive with red and green lanterns throughout the grounds.
As dawn breaks, we are on Kalakaua Street along the Pacific Ocean in Waikiki. We pass the statue of Duke Kahanamoku and the Healing Stones in front of the Waikiki Police Station. The first elevation begins along the side of Diamond Head volcano. Once at the top, we are on the way to a long loop through Hawaii Kai. The last leg takes participants back up a hill, through Diamond Head neighborhood ending at Kapiolani Park at the edge of Waikiki.
April M. Williams completes the 2011 Honolulu Marathon
We met Hawaii born ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Honolulu Marathon Expo in the Hawaii Convention Center. This is was the first of Jake’s three appearances at Honolulu marathon events.
Tonight Jake will play a show at the Waikiki Shell. Last year we heard Jake Shimabukuro play with Jimmy Buffett at the same venue. After the race, Jake will play at the Kapiolani Park bandstand.
Jake began playing the four stringed ukulele as a young child and growing up in the islands influenced his music.
“When I think of the ukulele, I guess to me it has always been the instrument of peace, you know, because when I think of the ukulele, I think of beaches, I think of nature. ” Jake says. “You know growing up here in Hawaii, we are so spoiled with nice beaches, and the aloha spirit. That all rings through the instrument. Playing the ukulele, I tell people all the time that if everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place. I really believe that. It has really shaped my life and the instrument has really become, I guess a way of life for me. I am very honored to strum that four stringed instrument every day.”