On the eve of my 50th birthday I thought it’d be good to run my first overseas event. Advertised as a true downhill from Valley to Sea 🌊 I thought this would be a great event for me.
Due to unusual weather and landslides the roads around the valley & route have been washed away and closed to the public.
A new route was planned which was sea to Valley back to sea level. So instead of an over all drop we had two climbs and just to make it a little tougher a headwind on one of the hills. Due to the two hills to climb the last three mile of running on sand was replaced by road running. That would just have been mean !
However as I hadn’t done the old route I didn’t have a comparison and I did enjoy the ‘new’ route.
If half marathons can be classified as a fun run then this was top of the charts. Also first race I replied to a messages mid race to a friend asking how I had done 😁 She obviously forgot the time difference as expected me to have been finished 🏁
The race was held on a Saturday with a 6am start to beat the heat of the day and reduce disruption of closed roads. At 4am we tried to creep out of the hotel after a coffee and breakfast of banana bread, bananas and protein drink I bought from local supermarket. Plus had the biggest bottle of Gatorade that I sipped on all day, must have been a gallon ! But at least kept me hydrated and on top of electrolytes.
No parking at the race start so Mike dropped me off and I joined the queue for the loo or Port-a-potty Somethings the world over don’t change at running races. Apart from it being pitch black so no light in the blue box.
Runners assembled at the start and not the usual smell of Deep Heat but tropical heat. The inflatable start/finish arch seemed to be the wrong way round but we worked it out. My Asthma UK vest with 🇬🇧 flag and ZOE attracted attention asking if that really was my name and had I travelled just for the race. Met ladies from New York, Idaho, LA, Florida, Boulder and San Francisco all very chatty, alert and more awake that me !
A well organised event which started at dawn. The local police stopped traffic as we filed out from the Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary 350 runners headed out in the dark along the coastal path. As the sun rose we passed the bird wetlands and saw windmills on the hill and hugging the valley ridge line.
Every couple of miles there was water & Gatorade stations and cheery volunteers. The Maui Police Department acted as marshals at every road junction, turning and crossings. Stopped for a few selfies with fellow officers and asked what the chances of a transfer to the sun were ?! Although I’d have to carry a gun.
Along the route I got in step with a variety of people, I stuck to my own pace which left me behind the majority of the group in the first few miles, then as the first hill appeared I seemed to cruise past many that were now walking. By the time I got to the half way point I was back in the main group as the leaders were heading back to the finish.
Temperatures started around 24c rising to 28c by the time I finished. Photo and message sent at half way back to England. Yes I was OK but still running.
I was dealing well with the humidity while a lot around me were wilting in the heat. I think I need to move to Maui on medical grounds as the climate suited me & my asthma 😁
After battling for a couple of miles up hill into a headwind I was pleased to see the 8 mile water station as I knew it was a flat run home. A few selfies with police officers and I was enjoying the sights as the sun was up as the island was coming to life. The local canoe club was taking to the water for training, snorkellers and swimmers enjoying the calm waters.
A couple of miles from the finish and we were enveloped with smells from the food trucks which wafted around us from Huli Chicken, hog roasts & frying fish. I was eyeing up the fresh fruit & shaved ice stalls.
For once a spectator got it right when saying “nearly there just over the bridge” and that was it my first overseas race completed 13.1 fun miles in the sun ☀️
2:20 not my best but my worst, but most enjoyable half marathon for a long time. I was relaxed 😎 took in the scenery, chatted to fellow runners and thanked those on the water stations & police.
Mike managed to find a parking space and saw me cross the finish. The medal is one big heavy gong ! This in addition to a tshirt and gym bag. Then I sampled the buffet this was one tasty feast 🍴 I think I devoured the equivalent of 3 oranges in quarters plus handful of savoury salted nibbles and part of a very tasty burrito cheese & bean wraps. This was as good as a wedding buffet ! Plenty more to choose from but I wasn’t that hungry immediately after finishing.
The award ceremony gave pottery plates to age group winners but unlike the U.K. I was still in the 30-49 age group not that I’d have troubled the 50+ group !
Then Mike got a bonus as it was a Saturday we got back to the hotel in time for breakfast and use our vouchers. Bet I was to only one to get up run a 1/2 marathon and still be back for breakfast. By now I was starving so got my money’s worth that day and ate as much as your average American that morning. Other mornings Mike & I were sadly lacking on the 5 plate breakfast buffet challenge !
An afternoon swim and walk along the beach path and my legs were good the following morning ( my birthday 🎉)no DOMS.
If only I lived in the USA this would be the first of my do a half in every state challenge.
Runner Pradise Inc put on a good race and worked around the route change challenge Mother Nature had thrown at them. Registration was quick and organised, the start instructions clear, good facilities all round from loo’s, water stations, start / finish area and still a very scenic route.