Thursday, February 24, 2011

Maui Oceanfront Marathon ~ Race Ratings (#48)

Tag line: 
"A great vacation with a 26.2 mile interruption"
Maui Oceanfront Marathon ~ January 23, 2011
Maui, HI ~ Wailea to Old Lahaina Town.
Type: 100% Road
Year Running: 3rd
Registration Fee: $90-$120
Charity Race? Yes! All of the charities contribute by volunteering on the course aid stations. 
Runners:  281... Females: 120
Available Races: Marathon, Half-Marathon, 15k, 5k
Average Finish Time: 4:39:08
BQ %: 12.1%

Overall Race Ratings: 4.0/5.0

Average Calculated Rating: 4.0/5.0
~ This marathon provides pretty much everything you expect for a tropical marathon-- beaches, whale watching, warm weather, palm trees and volcanoes. It's also more challenging than you expect as most of it runs uphill. Go for the fun, the beauty and the people, not the speed!

Race Director: Let's play race director...
~ The first change I would make is providing the option for transportation to the start as that is where a lot of the nicer resorts are. Provide the option to pay $10 more for a shuttle from the finish and it would be cheaper than paying the buses/taxis to get back to the start. The shirt is a little on the weak side from what I expected, but it is from a local artist which is a nice touch... it could still use some work.

Event Organization: 3.6/5.0 (now broken into 2 parts, see below as well) As far as "event organization" we'll include things like Host hotel, website use, ease of travel to the event and to the actual race, etc.
Distance from Airport to Expo/Race: ~20 miles from OGG (less expensive) and down the street from the more expensive airport
Rental Car Required: Yes
~ This is a small race with a definite relaxed feel to just about every aspect except the finish. The website gives you the basic need to know information and emails are shot out a few days before the race. They do a good job of recommending host hotels and they give a really good discount at some of the nicer resorts (I'm talking like $250/night instead of $350-$400). You're in Maui so nothing is a cheap as other states and as a tourist you're expect to be nickle and dimed to death everywhere.

Getting to the start was easy as most of us stayed in Wailea. Getting back however was a challenge. They don't set up return shuttles so you need to carry money on you to take 2 public buses to get back. Oh and expect to carry money on you for the buses and post-race food because there are no bag drops at the start! What helps is that most runners bring family/friends (hey, its a trip to Hawaii!) and they bring them back as well as bring them extra clothes, food, money, etc. Tip: If you don't mind getting up very early drive to the finish and they have shuttles to the start very early in the morning! That way you have all your stuff at the end of the race!

Race Organization: 4.6/5.0
Hydration Color/Type: N/A
Gel Type/Flavors/Availability:  Cliff Shot Blocks/Mountain Berry/Almost every rest stop from 10 going forward.
~Post Race Food: .The post race food included a lot of fruit (yum) some bagels and chips. Nothing too crazy.
The start of the race includes a hawaiin ceremony with a traditional prayer ceremony. The people in their ceremonial garb led us to the start line to send us off. The first thing I noticed is that the mile markers run backwards!!! When  you get to 1.2 miles, the "25" mile marker is there because you have exactly 25 left to run. I believe this was so the countdown numbers could be used for both the full and half marathon. They were a little low on rest stops and there weren't many hiding places if you needed to go suddenly. There were, however, plenty of aid stations and they were full stocked with drinks, cliff shot blocks, and various other snacks. The aid stations also had various themes which sometimes included extras like a sprinkler area for when it got hot.

Course: 3.2/5.0
MarathonGuide Rating
Garmin Distance: 26.25
Type: 100% Road
~ Elevation Gain/Loss:
~ This is a point to point course that starts in Wailea to ends in Old Lahaina. It runs (mostly) along the ocean on one of their main roads. While it's still dark you run mostly through towns that are near the ocean then you're brought into this boggy swamp type area-- warning! Keep your mouth and eyes closed here or you will ingest many a bugs! PROTEIN YUM!!! After that you're brought out onto cliff areas where you have a pretty good climb as well as a pretty great views of whales breaching! Finally you come to Old Lahaina that's a cute touristy town. The finish runs you directly into the beach and Ocean for a true COOLdown in the water!

The Good? The sites are absolutely beautiful. Bring your camera for the oceans, volcanoes whales, and cute towns. Point to point gives you a pretty good mix of everything. I loved finishing right on the Ocean. If you're looking for a mildly challenging course this is it. But the good part is you're running away from the rising sun so that keeps you from dying in the 70+ degree weather toward the end!

The bad? Some people (ahem- MB!) had issues with "red sand"-- please note, I didn't noticed red sand, but along the cliffs on a downhill they were prone to slipping and SOME people ever sprained their ankle around mile 17. The beginning  (~7 miles) of the race isn't that great because 1) It's in the dark and there are very few street lights. You're running on the sidewalks and the ends are hard to see. 2) The towns are pretty boring and long straights with little turns. The bugs in the boggy area also weren't fantastic, but it didn't last too long.

Spectators: 4.0/5.0
~ This is not a huge spectator marathon unless you count the whales! Only part of the road is shut down for us and a lot of it runs along cliffs. However, with each aid station there were always a few spectators with signs, drums, music, etc. They were often leapfrogging their runners and yelling as they drove by. They were also having some sort of contest for rest stops. A lot of them were themed, which included a "break through the wall" one where you ran through sprinklers lined with fake cement walls. Very cool!

 Pace Group: NA/5.0
~ No pace groups here although they PROBABLY could have had a couple

Runner/Corrals: 5.0/5.0
~ No corrals needed here. Runners are very friendly-- but I think that has something to do with the fact that it's HAWAII!!!! This is one of the smaller Hawaii races and a lot of 50-staters and maniacs make up the crowd of runners. One of the best parts? The announcer says all of our names as we come in and makes a big deal out of each and every person running that is a 50 stater! I also had a chance to meet and run (a little) with Regina Joyce-- marathon Olympian. Too cool.

Expo: NA/5.0
~ No Expo-- in fact, you pick up your bib and chip at one of the director's condos. 

Swag: 4.0/5.0
~T-Shirts: The shirt is a sweat wick, light weight, nice shirt. However, the picture or "art" as they are calling it has a scantily clad woman on the front looking over the ocean. I feel like if I wear this, people might get the wrong impression of me? Note: This is from a local artist, so incorporating local artwork is definitely a plus in their direction... I would just advise they create a more gender neutral shirt? 3.4
The artwork blown up on the front of the shirt is pictured right -->
~Medals: I am a BIG fan of these medals. For a smaller race they really did a great job. It pulls in the features and the colors of Maui on this colorful ring with runners, the bridges, palm trees and the race name. Even the ribbon had a great teal coloring on it. Definitely one of my favorites! 4.6

~ Goodie Bag: No goodie bags here! 

Results: Stephanie
Chip Time: 3:40:56
Place: Overall- 32/281, Gender- 6/120, A/G (Open <40)- 6/NA

Happy Racing,
"Run to Win" - Meb


  1. Sounds fun to have whales as spectators!
    years ago in January we were there for the Maui half, which my hubs ran. Sounds like the same course.

  2. Awesome review! Thank you. I am running the Maui Oceanfront marathon next month so this review really helps. One note though, I think the medal picture link is to the wrong medal. I'd love to see the one you actually got.