Get to know the Honolulu Marathon course

Honolulu Marathon Male Transparent

Disclaimer: I am receiving entry to the Honolulu Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro Ambassador. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews! While the opportunity came my way thanks to the awesome group, all views and opinions are mine.

It’s still another 36 weeks away, but I can’t wait until December 11, where I will be taking to the start line in Honolulu to take on my second ever marathon… Woohoo!!!
What better way to keep the countdown moving along then finding out a bit more about those amazing locations (as well as some Hawaiian history) that we’ll be running past in just a little over 8 months time??


The start line at Ala Moana Beach Park. Photo courtesy of The Honolulu Marathon Association.

START – Ala Moana Beach Park

Ala Moana Beach Park is actually a man-made beach which was created in the 1950s when the Dillingham Dredging Company was looking for a place to dump it’s sand. The beach itself is quiet calm due to a shallow outer reef, making it a favourite for long-distance swimmers & stand-up paddleboarders. Also located off Ala Moana Beach Park is Aina Moana also known as Magic Island; a man-made peninsula which was due to be part of a resort complex but turned over to public land when the build didn’t proceed. It’s now a public park (30 acres in fact) with a protected lagoon.

Aloha Tower

The Aloha Tower (built in 1926) served as a welcome beacon for visitors to O’ahu pulling into Honolulu Harbor. It also houses an observatory and lookout station, which for a period in WW2 – the US military took control of, even going so far as to painting it in camouflage which was finally sandblasted off in 1947.

Iolani Palace

Iolani Palace is the official residence of the monarchy of Hawaii and was built by King Kalakaua in 1882. This is the only royal palace on US soil and has served over the years as headquarters for the military and a government building before being restored to it’s original plan and protected as a historic place.


Don’t forget to look up while out on the course – otherwise you may miss this! Photo courtesy of The Honolulu Marathon Association.

Ala Wai Yacht Harbor

This is the largest Yacht Harbor in the state of Hawaii and is the home port for the TransPac sailing race. It’s also been the background spot for many TV shows as well as being featured in Elvis’s second Hawaiian film “Girls, Girls, Girls”.

Duke Kahanamoku Statue

Duke Kahanamoku is known as the father of modern surfing and has been immortilised in bronze on Kuhio Beach. Duke actually grew up surfing where the Hilton Hawaiian Village currently sits, and represented the US for swimming in two Olympics obtaining 3 Gold and 2 Silver medals. He also was one of the founders of Waikiki Beach Boys, which started that amazing tradition of teaching visitors to Waikiki how to surf.

Prince Kuhio Statue

Prince Kuhio was the serving prince of Hawaii when the Kingdom was overthrown in 1893, however went on to serve as Hawaii’s congressional delegate for 10 consecutive terms. He was the first native Hawaiian, and only royal, to serve in the United States Congress.  Prince Kuhio is commonly referred to as Ke Ali’i Makaainana (the prince of the people) as he rallied efforts to preserve and strengthen the Hawaiian people.

Na Pohaku Ola Kapaemahu a Kapuni

Also known as the Wizard Stones of Kapaemahu, these stones are said to contain the power of four wizards who came to Oahu from Tahiti in 400AD with armed with the magic of healing – la‘au lapa‘au, where plants and animals are combined with great wisdom to heal.

When the time came for them to return to Tahiti, the four wizards wanted to ensure that their power remained in a physical form, thus placing their powers (or mana) within four seperate stones. The stones were selected from a quarry 2 miles away and it was said that thousands came to help move them to their location to where the wizards would strike them to transition some of their power. Two were placed where healers dwelled & the other two were where they bathed.

The stones have been moved several times from their original locations, however the final location of the stones has been created with protection and honour of the cultural significance of the stones. These stones are a constant reminder that mana is found within all living things.

Diamond Head

Diamond Head State Monument is a 760-foot crater that was formed 300,000 years ago due to an explosive eruption which created the crater out of the debris that settled. In 1908 the trail to the summit was created as part of the coastal defence system. The lighted tunnel was then added in 1911, and then the bunkers and lighthouse built in 1917.

The name was given to the crater when British sailors thought they had discovered diamonds on the crater. Unfortunately this was not the case.

MARATHON 42 KKN 20141214
Even the weather puts on a show at the Honolulu Marathon on December 14, 2014 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo courtesy of The Honolulu Marathon Association.


Kahala is known for it’s affluence and some of the most expensive properties in the state are located in this suburb. The good news is that it’s fairly flat along this part of the course.

The suburb is also home to the Kahala Hotel & Resort which was founded in the 60s and was the most expensive hotel in the world at that time.

2015 Honolulu Marathon runners/December 13, 2015. Getty Images for HONOLULU MARATHON
Enjoy open spaces and incredible ocean views during the Honolulu Marathon course. Photo courtesy of The Honolulu Marathon Association. 

FINISH – Kapiolani Park

Kapiolani Park is the largest and oldest public park in Hawaii, and is also the end of the race! It is actually named after Queen Kapi’olani and was handed over to the people of Hawaii by King Kalakaua in 1877. The 121-hectare park houses ancient Banyan and Ironwood trees, an amazing array of wildlife as well as sporting fields, pathways, the Waikiki Shell venue and the Honolulu Zoo.


After reading up on all these locations, I can tell that the Honolulu Marathon is going to be one special race. If you’re keen on registering early bird entry is ticking away. All  US/CA and International participants are able to sign up for the Honolulu Marathon for the cheap price of only $115USD until April 14th. Sign up here and join me on the start line!!


2 thoughts on “Get to know the Honolulu Marathon course

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