One of the joys of racing is there's always something new to discover. When I ran Honolulu Ekiden for the first time last year, it was an opportunity to connect with others and celebrate running in a way that I haven't experienced in other races. I liked it so much that I'll be back this year. Here's what I learned at my first Honolulu Ekiden.
1. It's a neat way to say you participated in a marathon.
Honolulu Ekiden is a marathon relay, which allows you to split the 26.2-mile course among two to six participants. If you form a team of six (the most popular option), the longest anyone will have to run is 5.6 miles.
2. Forming a team is a lot of fun.
When you register, you can choose your team name. Last year, we were Slow Down For What! This year, we're Potterheads. We even have matching shirts this year.
Team Slow Down For What at last year's Honolulu Ekiden.
3. It's scenic.
I've always enjoyed the drive to and from Sandy Beach Park. Honolulu Ekiden gives runners the chance to experience the route on foot.
4. It's rewarding to support your team.
It was exciting to see some of my teammates in action. Since it's a relay and we weren't always together, we used group texts to cheer each other on.
We knew we didn't need to carbo-load for this race but it was still great to get together for a delicious pre-race meal and good company.
A few more tips:
- This event requires your team to wear and pass along a sash that holds your team's timing chip. If you're listening to music and don't have wireless earphones, think about how to make your hand off easier in advance.
- From the Kapiolani Park area, buses will take runners to the start of every section except for the first. Be sure to get to the buses as early as possible.
- Except for the first leg, which is short, and the last leg, where there isn't a sash hand-off, there's some waiting involved. Many partipants use the time to stretch and relax. If you're nervous about being ready for your teammate, you can calculate their estimated time of arrival using their average pace.
Honolulu Ekiden will be held on Sunday, May 21. Registration is open until May 18. For more information, visit hnlekiden.org.