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UCC Coffee Kona Marathon
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I had a great time in Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Sheraton on the beach was relatively cheap, about $170 per night once all fees and taxes were included. This cost included free rides on the trolley service, which allowed me to get to nearby tourist attractions. The weather was very good. Kona is on the west (dry) side of the island, so the heat and humidity were no worse than what we have in Charleston. The one bad thing about the climate is that since Hawaii is so close to the equator the sun can really beat down on you during the day.

And boy, did it ever take that opportunity during the second half of the marathon! I had a good first half of the marathon, as the mountains and partial cloud cover kept the sun at bay, but by the turn around point the sun was out in full force as we ran along an unshaded highway. I ended up with my second-worst time ever, 5:19:18.

With one minor little exception the race was well-run. Organizers had hydration stations at nearly every mile. Many of these in the second half had sprinklers set up, allowing runners to get a quick cool-down. The course was not very hilly, although the one bad hill came around mile 24.5, which was somewhat unfortunate placement.

The one minor little exception was that the promised shuttle service from the host hotel (the Sheraton) to the race start never materialized. Fortunately we only had to walk about 20 minutes to get to the start. Had the start been several miles away this lack of service could have been disastrous.

I would gladly do this race again, mainly just to visit Hawaii again. I just have to figure out a way to handle the heat better during a marathon.
 
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