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The Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon

This year, The Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon celebrates its 8th lap around the sun. While still considered in its infancy—the Boston Marathon, for instance, turned 119 this year— The Kauai Marathon & Half Marathon is already creating buzz in the running world.

All across the marathon review guides, forums and blogs, you’ll find consistent five-star-ratings and awe-inspired commentary. If you’ve had the pleasure (and pain) of experiencing it in person, you know why. The place, the people—it’s like no other marathon in the world.

For the last six years, Robin Jumper has dedicated her focus to virtually every element of the marathon. She is a real team player, valued member of our South Kauai community, and recently offered her precious time to comment on this year’s event.


“The unique personalities and stories are really inspiring. We have a handful of elite marathoners, but most of our participants are running for far different reasons than finishing in the fastest time possible. I still remember a runner from my first year who was injured in a terrible car accident; her doctor told her she wouldn’t walk again, much less run a marathon, but she fought back. This was the first marathon she ran after the accident. Last year, a friend of mine ran the half marathon with her brother, who is a triple amputee; it was amazing and emotional to see them cross the finish line together. Bringing all these people together and learning about their different reasons for running is a huge reward for us.”


“The volunteers and medical staff, the neighbors who come out, the sense of community and tremendous support we get from all around the island— not to mention the course views— are all big differentiators for The Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon. And, to have a marathon and half marathon start and finish at the same place is nearly unheard of. It’s great for family and friends, who don’t have to travel back and forth. Figuring out that route was complex, so there are no double loops. We also like that the half-marathoners and full-marathoners share the same course for the first 11 miles. There’s so much camaraderie between them.”


“After a straight year of planning, it’s pure joy seeing all the runners come together at the starting line. They’re holding hands, they’re hugging, high-fiving, taking pictures. There are the big running groups, like Divas and Dudes from Kapaa, all decked out in matching shirts. Seeing all that, it’s pure chicken skin for us, but a short window of euphoria, because once the race starts, we’re right back to business making sure everything is running smoothly across the course. And just about a week after the race ends, we start planning next year’s marathon.”


“The heat, the humidity, the hills; they can be a real kicker for even very experienced runners. The full marathon course has a total elevation change of 4,353 feet, temperatures are in the high 80s with 70 to 80 percent humidity. I have a good friend in Colorado who comes here to run. Back at home, she’s like a gazelle and here,  she’s exhausted after a couple hills. We hear from our volunteer staff at around mile 16, where runners round the corner at Puu Road to see another hill in front of them, and an involuntary release of expletives usually follows. But, when you get to the top, there is a view of the coast that makes it all worth it.”


“Some of the funds we raise go on to benefit local schools. For instance, Kalaheo Elementary School has used the revenue to install new playground equipment. The money helps support Waimea High School’s Project Grad program. Koloa Early School applies funds to student art projects. For Chiefess Middle School, the revenue benefits their media program (CKTV); last year, they were able to send students to New York and Atlanta for a media contest.”


At Kauai Heritage Portfolio, we’ve grown right along side The Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon and have been a proud sponsor since the very first race. Opening our company doors in 2009, the inaugural year of The Kauai Marathon, we looked to align with community-minded efforts that complement our heritage and values.

The Kauai Marathon is a natural fit; it showcases the beauty of the South Shore, our neighborhoods and where we work and live. We honor the event’s founders: Jeff and Liz Sacchini, Race Director Bob Craver, Marketing Coordinator Robin Jumper, and all of the volunteers from across the island for their tireless commitment to developing a world class event. See you on Sunday!


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