Some people come to Hawaii for the sunshine. Others for the pristine beaches. Some come for the great food. But can you believe some people actually come to Hawaii for a workout? With the Maui Marathon wrapping up last weekend we thought it would be a good time to take a look at the various major sporting events that happen in Hawaii throughout the year.
The 41st annual Maui Marathon finished up this past weekend. Maui Marathon is recognized as one of the most scenic courses in world with its point-to-point route starting in Kahului, passing moonlit sugarcane fields and hugging the spectacular Pacific coastline for over 17 breathtaking miles. Runners feast on views of the cobalt blue ocean water, its rolling surf and Maui’s neighboring islands of Kaho’olawe, Lana’i and Moloka’i. The journey’s final miles take participants through the historical fishing village of Lahaina before finishing near The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, race headquarters, in the world-famous Ka’anapali Beach Resort home of the Whalers Village.
In September the Kaua'i Marathon and Half Marathon begin in Poipu, the world-class resort community at the sunny southern end of the island and run the first 11 miles together. This year's race boasted the largest field in race history. The courses follow the contour of the scenic coastline, offering magnificent views of the island's picturesque beaches, rugged volcanic peaks, and green tropical rain forests. As dawn breaks, runners experience lush green vistas as they approach the shade of the century old Tunnel of Trees. The course then winds through misty Omao where the half marathon enters Kukui'ula Resort offering spectacular ocean views for the last few miles. The full marathon heads out to Lawai before climbing to reveal stunning ocean views at the top of Kalaheo. The remaining miles are a gradual descent until runners receive a rousing island welcome upon their return to Poipu Beach.
The granddaddy of them all. If swimming 2.4 miles, then biking 112 miles and then running a 26.2 mile marathon sounds fun to you then this is the event for you. Held every October on the Big Island the race consists of the swim in the bay of Kailua-Kona, the bike ride across the Hawaiian lava desert to Hawi and back, and the marathon run along the coast (from Keauhou to Keahole Point and back to Kailua-Kona) finishing on Aliʻi Drive. To top it all off the conditions are uniquely punishing for endurance racing: the Hawaii water is warm enough that helpfully buoyant wetsuits are not allowed; though the cycling hills have only moderate gradients they are normally crossed by strong and gusting winds; and the marathon leg of the race is usually extremely hot under the Hawaiian sun with virtually no shade provided. The current record for completion was set in 1996 by Belgian Luc Van Lierde who completed the race in 8 hours 4 minutes 8 seconds.
The Maui Invitational
For the college basketball fans out there the Maui Invitational can offer a great excuse to plan a trip to Hawaii. The event is an early season tournament that takes place Thanksgiving Week in Lahaina. It's hosted by Charminade University of Honolulu (which is also a participant) and attracts seven other top teams from across the country. Last year's tournament was won by Connecticut (who also won the NCAA tournament) and other recent winners include North Carolina, Duke and UCLA.
The Pro Bowl
If watching world-class athletes compete as opposed to competing yourself is more your thing then you should definitely check out the NFL's Pro Bowl. Hosted in Honolulu each year, the game used to be played the week after the Super Bowl. However, in order to build more interest and increase viewership the league recently decided to play it on the weekend before the Super Bowl. No matter when they play one thing is for sure: you get to be there watching your favorite players compete on the gridiron in warmth and sunshine as opposed to cold and snow. That's a win-win!
Vans Triple Crown of Surfing
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is the world's most prestigious surf series, featuring the world's best surfers on the worlds biggest waves. Three separate events (Reef Hawaiian Pro, Vans World Cup of Surfing and Billabong Pipe Masters) take place each year between mid-November and mid-December. Surfers come from all over the world to tackle the north shore of Oahu's famous waves, and in the months of November and December the surf is most definitely up. Come enjoy the attractions and tranquility of the North Shore while witnessing some truly magical wave riding.