It’s about 6:30 a.m. on a brisk Sunday morning in mid-December, and we have been awakened to the sounds of cheers and clapping. My husband is making coffee and preparing to wake up our two young children. What is he doing up so early on a Sunday? The Honolulu Marathon has begun. From our home at the base of Diamond Head, we make our annual pilgrimage – a one-block walk toward the ocean to Diamond Head Road, to view the front-runners as they sprint to the finish, 500 yards away in Kapiolani Park. As we walk down the block, several sleepy neighbors emerge from their comfortable dwellings – including my stepfather, and the windsurfer next door – coffee in hand. Our two children in tow, wrapped in small blankets, are getting excited to see who the winner might be.As we approach Diamond Head Road, we see hundreds of marathon runners in bright colors, all of who are jogging, running and walking as they approach the hill, going east from Coconut Avenue. Some have Santa Claus and other costumes on as they run. Others are in standard running gear – shorts and tank tops. A sea of humanity from numerous countries, all shapes and sizes, and in different levels of preparation for the 26-mile race. All seem painfully happy.
For these runners it is about the 6th mile of the race (which started at Aloha Tower) a long way to go to get to Hawaii Kai and back. We are interested in the finishers who should be bounding down the hill at around 7:00 a.m. They will be on the Makai (ocean) side of the street as they head toward the finish. We soon hear the sound of the police motorcycle escorts, then the pace truck, and following them, here they come, the front-runners! The leaders of the pack include three Kenyans and an Ethiopian. The crowd that has gathered and the runners going in the opposite direction roar in a crescendo as the scantily clad professional marathoners glide by, all of who seem small in stature. My children are delighted as usual. We stay until the first woman runner (who is from Russia) cruises by on her way to another win.What a charmed life it was to live on Diamond Head! Our favorite surfing spot – along with Kapiolani Park for jogging and picnics, is just a short walk away. Town living that feels like beach resort living only a few minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Waikiki and downtown has been a convenience hard to beat!