Well, it's been three days and we're finally getting recovered from the adventure that was the Big Island International Marathon weekend! Congratulations and many mahalos to race director Wayne Joseph for a wonderful weekend. As you may have seen, the highlight of the weekend was definitely Jason finishing second in the marathon with a time of 2:51:29. Even more amazing was that the weekend didn't lead to optimal pre-race conditions for him (which usually consists of spending the day before a marathon firmly planted on a couch with his feet up, watching movies). Instead, this time around we spent Saturday working the marathon expo. But I'm getting ahead of myself - here's the Friday recap, Saturday's and Sunday's will hopefully follow tomorrow.
The adventure began last Friday when we started packing up the store to take inventory over to the expo. We were extremely lucky to have Jason's parents and sister in town to help with the logistics, because there was no way any of that would have happened without them. We also wouldn't have any pictures of the weekend without Jason's mom, who did a great job as our official photographer. Many, many mahalos to Wendell, Debbie and Erica who might have gotten a little more than they bargained for on their Hawaiian "vacation"!
Initially we had grand plans of taking all of our shoes over to Hilo. But we soon realized that they wouldn't all fit in the cargo van we rented. So we had to make some hard decisions and left lots of shoes behind (if there was something you were looking for at the expo and it wasn't there, chances are it was left behind in Kona and you'll have to stop by our store!). Even leaving those behind, Jason still had to drive over to Hilo (over Saddle Road!) with shoes loaded to the top of the cargo area, in the passenger seat and between the front seats. We also packed up tons of nutritional products, FuelBelts, apparel and Big Island Running Company logo shirts. There was no spare space in any of the three vehicles we drove over to Hilo.
Once we made it to Hilo on Friday afternoon, we made a quick stop at the Big Island Road Runner's Friendship 5K before taking a drive to preview the first half of the marathon course. If you are unfamiliar with the course, it starts about 10 miles north of town and works its way into and around Hilo. Those first 8 miles are some of the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen on a run, since the course follows a scenic route into Hilo. Of course along with the beauty of waterfalls and coastal cliffs comes some major downhill and uphill portions. And a high potential for rain showers. Rain came down pretty hard while we were driving the course on Friday, so we were all getting nervous about the race conditions on Sunday morning. Chances of slogging through puddles with weighted down shoes seemed likely considering that this was the view that awaited us:
But there wasn't too much time to dwell on race conditions because we had to get back to the hotel for the Carbo-load dinner. It was a great dinner at the Hilo Hawaiian with lots of old and new friends. It's amazing how diverse the crowd was for a small marathon. We met a first-time marathoner and saw a participant who was completing his 50th state marathon. Many of the participants were from the mainland (North Carolina, Texas and Illinois were some of the states) or from outside the US! Those visitors and the locals got to enjoy Hawaiian-style entertainment with hula dancers and a raffle with lots of great prizes (including Big Island Running Company gift certificates :)). I was the luckiest one in our group and won a t-shirt and a plant. I'm hoping I won't kill this plant, but I think Jason is a little skeptical considering that would be a first for me. Here are some pictures of the dinner:
Lovely hula dancers.
More hula outfits!
Race Director Wayne Joseph with Cowman, Marie Kuramoto and DJ Blinn.
Wendell Braswell and DJ Blinn
Me and my prizes.
After dinner it was off to bed to rest up for our first attempt at an expo booth!