Favorite Places to Run – Ironman Marathon Route

Photo by Chris McCormack / CC BY

On our vacation to the Big Island, I was stoked (excited) about where the fam (family) and I were staying. Ali’i Drive (dramatic pause). Yes, Ali’i Drive. The same road that is part of the marathon course for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

This is the hill I died on!

The first morning, I was out the door at 6am. Unfortunately, I didn’t research the marathon route and ran in the wrong direction! After a mile, there was this huge hill that I died trying to climb. Actually, I made it to the top but had to slow to a walk a couple of times (or a few times).

Now, I did see a few runners/walkers and encountered many cyclists so at least I wasn’t alone in my agony! Later on, I finally did google the marathon course so I was ready to go the next morning. At the break of dawn, I was back out there. This time I was running in the right direction.

Bike lanes for runner & cyclists!

There are some great beaches and ocean views on Ali’i Drive. There were lots of runners (and lots of hotels and resorts) that gave me inspiration and some inner competition (racing against another runner without them knowing it).The road is very safe with bike lanes on both sides of the street. There will be some cyclists so stay focused on the road ahead of you. If you run far enough north, you will run into Historic Kailua Village which will be crowded with restaurants, shops, cars and people.

You can run around 5 1/2 miles, on Ali’i Drive, from the Kona Coast Resort (where I stayed) to the end of the road. You can’t really run on Ka’ahumanu Highway though I did see some cyclists, on the highway, outside of Kona and past the airport. So…if you want to run the entire marathon course, it is possible. On to the photos!!!

Kahalu’u Beach Park…duh!

Lots of vacation homes around here!

La’aloa (very sacred) Bay Beach Park!

Beautiful view of the coastline!

Roadside shrine!

Passing some resorts!

Another beach park?

A very small church and the southern turnaround point of the Ironman marathon!

Running on Kauai – Kauai Path…A Runner’s Paradise

kauai path

Kauai Path near Niu Street

Running on Kauai…Kauai Path is #1 of 53 things to do in Kapaa according to Trip Advisor. This beautiful multi-use path can be described as “Ke Ala Hele Makalae” which is Hawaiian for “The Path that Goes by the Coast.” The vision for Kauai Path, Inc. (a non-profit community organization) is for the trail to eventually follow the eastern shoreline for 17 miles from Nawiliwili to Anahola on the island of Kauai.

Kaui Path partially follows a former railroad line once used to haul the island’s sugarcane. The route offers access to parks, beaches along with all the shopping and restaurants of Old Town Kapaa. Along the path, you will encounter many informative signs sharing knowledge about important cultural and historical sites. You will also learn the native names different watercourses along plants and animals native to the area.

Presently, there are 7 miles of the path completed. Unfortunately, they are in two disconnected segments. The southern segment (phase 1) connects Lydgate Park to Wailua Beach Park and is 2.5 miles in length. The northern segment (phase 2) extends along the coast, for 4.5 miles, from Lihi Park, in Kapaa, to Ahihi Point in Kealia. There is a 2 mile gap between the two segments and the only to bridge this is by traveling on Kuhio Highway which is busy and has narrow shoulders (I won’t even run there).

Kaui Path is a multi-use trail and the following etiquette guildlines are in place so people can fully enjoy segment of Ke Ala Hele Makalae:

  • *Be Courteous—All path users should be respectful of other users regardless of their mode of travel, speed, or skill level.
  • *Keep Path Clear—Use no more than one-half of the path when in a group. Move off of the path if you are stopped.
  • *Be Predictable—Travel in a consistent manner. Look behind you before changing position on the path.
    *Keep Right—Stay to the right side on the path except when passing. Move back or to the right once safely past.
    *Respect Private Property—Stay on designated paths or roadways. Avoid shortcutting switchbacks.
    *Signal When Passing—Give a clear warning signal by voice, bell, or horn before you pass.
    *Yield to Slower Traffic—Cyclists yield to pedestrians. “Wheels yield to Heels.”
    *Respect the ‘Aina & the Park—Keep litter in trash receptacles.

running dog

Dogs may be walked on Kauai Path, subject to the restrictions listed below:

*Dogs may be on the paved portion of the path plus six feet on either side.
*Handler must be in control of dog at all times
*Two dogs per handler max
*Must have poop bag in evidence.
*Dog owner must remove and dispose of dog’s feces
*Dog must be licensed
*Maximum leash length 6 ft. (No extendable leashes allowed.)
*Must leave path area if dog gets aggressive

kauai path

If it rains, there can be flooding on parts of the path.

My Experience Running on Kauai Path

I only ran on Phase 2, of Kauai Path, so I can only comment on that segment. Unfortunately, I didn’t even know Phase 1 existed until after my Kauai trip. The eastern coastline is just breathtakingly beautiful in the early morning. I started both runs at the break of dawn. If you run later in the morning, you will encounter lots of families on rental bikes.

My first run started off of Niu Street which is around .4 miles from Lihi Park; the beginning of Phase 2 of the path. I ran around 2 1/2 miles, just past Kealia Beach, before turning around.

For my second run, I parked at a lookout point between Kawaihau Road and Kealia Beach which around 1.6 miles north of the beginning of the path. I ran all the way to the end (2 1/2 miles), where it became a dirt trail, turned around and returned to my starting point.

kauai path

End of Kauai Path and the beginning of a hiking or mountain bike trail.

Steve Scott – Miler

steve scottOne of my favorite middle distance runners, growing up, was Steve Scott. With the great UK runners Coe, Ovett and Cram, Steve Scott was my American hope.

He was a great competitor and I remember him in all those “Dream Mile” races, on television, but I do not recall him ever winning (won in ’82 & ’83). So let’s take a closer look at Steve Scott…the miler.

Scott was a baseball player, in high school, and joined the cross country team to avoid taking physical education during first period.

At the University of California-Irvine Scott broke the 4 minute mile barrier for the first time. From 1974 to 1977, he won the Division II title at 1500 meters.

In 1980, Scott finished first at the 1980 U.S. Olympic trials. Unfortunately, the U.S. boycotted the Olympics, because of host Russia’s invasion, of Afghanistan, in 1979. He finished 10th at the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles and 5th in 1988 (Seoul).

Scott won a silver medal at the inaugural IAAF World Championship in 1983 (gold – Steve Cram, bronze – Said Aouita).

While never setting a world record, Scott was considered one of the greatest milers in the world. His 136 times running under four minutes is unmatched.

Scott was a U.S. record holder in the outdoor mile in 3:47.69 in 1982 and has still-standing records (indoor mile in 3:51.8 in 1981 and indoor 2000 meters in 4:58.6 in 1981).

Scott has been Head track & field coach at California State University-San Marcos since 1999 and had two successful battles with cancer in 1994 and 2014.

The following is just a snippet of Scott’s training log for 1982. You can tell he is big believer in training twice a day:

steve scott

29 March, Monday: DNR Flying to NZ.

Tuesday: AM Checked into hotel, ran 40min. PM Ran
45min at Cornwall Park. 15mi

Wednesday: AM 30min w/ Ray, good pace. PM Hard
55min. Rain, Weights. 15mi

Thursday: AM 5mi easy around the park. PM Very
tough, hilly 10mi w/ Ray, John.

Friday: AM Easy 5mi. PM Easy 5mi with Ray +

Saturday: Auckland Mile. 1st in 3:31.2. Beat
Hillardt, Flynn, Walker.
+ 10mi after. 14mi

Sunday: AM 15mi with John + run home. 16mi.

Week: 85mi

Running partners that week:

Ray Flynn of Ireland
John Walker of New Zealand
Michael Hillardt of Australia

52 week mileage: 4016 miles (77.2mi/wk)
43 races

The Aukland Mile in 3:31.2 was not a typo. At the time, this was the fastest a mile had ever been run. Because the race was mostly downhill (200ft drop in elevation) the race was never officially recognized.

If you want to read Steve Scott’s entire 1981-1982 training log (it is entertaining for runners), click right here!