The 41st Honolulu Marathon opened with its traditional fireworks display, and the men’s race ended on a celebratory note for Team Kenya, which swept the podium and claimed five of the top six spots. Ethiopian women had similar success in the women's race, finishing first and second.
Leading the way for the men was Gilbert Chepkwony, who notched his first-ever marathon win in a time of 2:18:47. The 28-year-old won a stretch duel with countryman and defending champion Nicholas Chelimo, becoming the seventh straight Kenyan—and the 17th in the last 18 years—to top the Honolulu field.
“I knew [Chelimo] was following me so I had to pull away,” Chepkwony said afterward, according to the event’s website, describing the late surge that saw him complete mile 24 in 4:56 and mile 25 in 5:04.
The outgunned Chelimo crossed in 2:19:22, followed by Solomon Busendich in 2:19:38.
Among those who passed Makino were his Japanese countrymen Shuji Tsukamoto, Yuya Hino, and Daizo Yagi, who claimed eighth, ninth, and tenth places, respectively.
On the women’s side, Ehitu Kiros won and Woynishet Girma finished second, besting defending champion Valentina Galimova of Russia in a three-way battle to the finish; all three runners crossed within 12 seconds.
Kiros clocked in at 2:36:02. “I can do much better than this pace,” she said afterward. “If there is a pacesetter, we can run faster.”
The race attracted more than 30,000 entrants, among them Nathan Carlson and Polina Babkinaw, soon-to-be-married Honolulu residents who had the distinction of being the first male and female local finishers.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg