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Hawai’i Bird Conservation Marathon

The Hawai’i Bird Conservation Marathon supports endemic birds of Hawai‘i through the Hawai‘i Forest Institute for the Keauhou Bird Conservation Center (KBCC) Discovery Forest in Volcano, Hawai‘i.

L to R: Laura Hudson, Race Director Alan Ryan, Miki Fields, and Ellen Van Royen.

2022 Hawai’i Bird Conservation Marathon
The 5th Annual Hawai’i Bird Conservation Marathon was held on Sunday, December 18, 2022; 90 runners finished the race.   Alan Ryan continues to coordinate the marathon.

This was the only race this year in Hawai‘i (one of only 150 marathons in the USA) to be a qualifying race for the Abbott World Marathon Majors (WMM) Age Group World Championships.  Runners can use two qualifying 2022 race results to gain points and be invited to compete in the championships, which will be held at the 2023 Chicago Marathon.

Jay Dela Cruz was the men’s winner and YokTanimura was the woman’s winner. Three women completed their 50 State journey:  Laura Hudsonfrom Evansville, Indiana; Miki Fields form Newburgh, Indiana; and Ellen Van Royen from Henderson, Kentucky, see photo.  Learn more about the marathon here.

The next race date will be Sunday, December 17, 2023.

2021 Hawai’i Bird Conservation Marathon
The 4th Annual Hawai’i Bird Conservation Marathon will be held on Sunday, December 19, 2021.  Alan Ryan continues to coordinate the marathon.

2019 Hawai’i Bird Conservation Marathon
The 3rd Annual Hawai’i Bird Conservation Marathon will be held on Sunday, December 15, 2019.  Alan Ryan is taking over as Marathon Coordinator for Ornithologist/Race Director Robert Kennedy, who planned and organized the first two marathons.

2018 Hawai’i Bird Conservation Marathon
The 2rd annual Hawai’i Bird Conservation Marathon was  held December 16, 2018.  A total of $5,915 in donations was raised for KBCC Discovery Forest.

2017 Hawai’i Bird Conservation Marathon
The 1st annual Hawai’i Bird Conservation Marathon was held on December 16, 2017.  There were 87 marathoners who finished the race, with 33 runners completing the race with a Boston Qualifying Time.  A total of $4,188 was raised through the marathon for the KBCC Discovery Forest.

Grateful appreciation to Ornithologist/Race Director Robert Kennedy for planning and coordinating the  first two marathons.  Bob is a member of the Big Island Road Runners, President of the 50sub4 Marathon Club, and has run 182 marathons and ultra marathons (Finisher, Boston Qualifying Time in all 50 States; 50 States Marathon Club Finisher 2X; Marathon Maniacs – 10 Stars; 100 Marathon Club; New England 65 Plus Runners Club).

This USA Track & Field Certified Course (HI17001BK) is a Boston Qualifier and the race was sanctioned by USA Track & Field (C17055419).  The course is rated as the 2nd Fastest Marathon Course in the United States by Fastest Marathon Courses |  The race started at 6:00 am at Volcano Golf and Country Club, headed downhill to Hilo along Volcano Road/Mamalahoa Highway until mile marker 26.06 when runners turned left onto Stainback Highway to finish in front of the Boy Scouts’ Kilauea Camp. Total drop was 3,792 feet, total gain was 54 feet, and average grade was 2.72%.

During the first 3 miles, the course went along Mamalohoa Highway (Rt 11) as it passed through Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and then entered the community of Volcano.  For the first 15 miles, the course was surrounded by a mixture of original Hawaiian hāpuʻu and ‘ōhi‘a rain forest, residential and agricultural land.  The Start on this clear day offered a spectacular view of Hawaii’s highest volcanoes, Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, and during the first few miles runners experienced the dawn chorus of many Hawaiian endemic birds that may have included the Apapane, Hawai‘i Amakihi, I‘iwi (all three are Hawaiian Honeycreepers) Oma‘o (Hawaiian Thrush), and Hawai‘i Elepaio (a monarch flycatcher).  Runners may have also seen the Nēnē (endemic Hawaiian Goose) and the ‘Io (Hawaiian Hawk).

The race sold out within a month of it being offered, with preference given to Hawai’i residents, especially those that live on the Hawai‘i Island.

50sub4 Marathon Club members who participated in the Marathon. 2017
Former Keauhou Bird Conservation Center Caretaker/Outreach Coordinator Iwikau‘ikaua (Iwi) Joaquin coordinated student groups and inspired youth to connect with their environment by facilitating service-learning activities, which connect science with culture. Iwi has ancestral connections to these lands and shared traditional stories about the history of the place and its people and fostered a responsibility to family, community and homeland.

Mahalo to all the runners who donated:

‘Ōhi‘a Maile Forest ($100 to $200)
Janet Miller (Bike Works Kona)
Eric Allosada
Scott Alyn
Barbara Fitzgerald
Les Martisko
Brad & Marla Rhoden
Keith Campbell

‘Ōhi‘a Mala Forest ($8 to $75)
Michael Pope
Chris Lloyd
Leo Pike
Amie & Benjie Durden
Terry Taylor
Tony Barnhill
Lisa Pass
Karl Wirtl
Larry Anselmo
Sara Ecclesine
Brad Feldman
Tom Hallee
Jill Inafuku
Gary Marr
Karen Murray
John Perea
Robert  Peterson
John Strohmeyer
Shirley Van Dyke
Rosemary Adam-Tarem
Sylvain  Perret
Jolene Mears
Andrea Amend
Tom Craven
Haley Cruse
Andy Hignite
David Holmen
Joe Loschiavo
Howard Matthews
Matthew Perkins
Christian Puscasiu
Angela Sy
Brandi Jean Thomas
Jerome Vincent
Tracy Yost
Ronnie Vesperas

Volunteers plant a seedling at KBCC Discovery Forest.

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