Whale watching from the course is just one highlight of the Maui Oceanfront Marathon.  The whole event is a dream run for locals and visitors alike.

 

Set on the Hawaiian island of Maui, the marathon runs along the coast road north from the resort area of Wailea, through Kihei and along some of the prettiest beaches in the world to end in Old Lahaina Town.

 

Glorious sea views, sandy beaches and palm trees abound on the left.  Fields of sugar cane, the 10,000 foot Haleakala volcano and green west Maui mountains feature on the right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About 1200 participated in the marathon, half marathon and shorter distances, which all finished at Kamehameha Iki Park in Lahaina.  It was the fifth year of the Boston qualifier event.

 

The marathon starts before dawn at 112 feet above sea level and rolls gently downhill to sea level at the 1.3 mile mark.  There is a climb to 157 feet between the 10th and 11th mile but most of the course is flat or gently undulating.  There is also a short tunnel along the way.

 

January is prime whale viewing season on Maui.  Humpbacks are common in the clear, calm waters of west and south Maui from December to May.  They stay for breeding and birthing and can be seen most days from the shore blowing spouts, tail slapping, playfully surfacing or teaching their young new skills. 

 

Calves are born without a protective blubber layer and the relatively warm and shallow ocean there is a comfortable environment for their early weeks. 

 

From 1825-1860 old Lahaina was the centre of whaling in Hawaii and the Pacific’s most significant whaling port.  At its peak, whales were hunted to near extinction.  

Today, conservation has helped to increase the overall whale population in Hawaii.  Lahaina was once the royal capital of the Hawaiian kingdom, before it was moved to Honolulu in 1845. 


Lahaina is also home to a giant banyan tree.  Believed to be the largest banyan in the USA, it was planted in 1873 and covers the town’s Courthouse Square.  Thanks to its aerial roots, which grow into trunks when they touch ground, the generously shady tree is now supported by at least 16 trunks in addition to the original.

 

Maui Oceanfront Marathon is the perfect reason for a Hawaiian holiday when temperatures are pleasant and there is so much to enjoy.  Next year, the event is on 19th January, coinciding with the Martin Luther King long weekend.

 

20th January 2013
Maui
Hawaii
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