Get ready for a traffic jam of the human variety when the Honolulu Marathon kicks off Sunday morning.
Twenty-eight-thousand runners are expected to take on the 26.2-mile course. Nearly half of those runners will be from Japan.
Thousands of spectators will also be cheering them on, and marathon organizers say safety is the top priority for the race.
The Honolulu Marathon is the fourth largest in the U.S. and police presence has increased over the years.
Federal and local law enforcement officials say there’s no credible threat targeting the marathon, but in light of the Boston Marathon attack and the Las Vegas shooting, officials aren’t taking any chances.
“Obviously the world of marathoning and events and large public gatherings has changed a lot in the last few years,” said Jim Barahal, Honolulu Marathon President and CEO.
We’re told hundreds of officers and several K-9 units will be at the race. Officials will also have a bird’s eye view through 27 cameras along the course.
This year, drones won’t be allowed to fly over the event.
“We’re just a bit apprehensive of having too many drones. Last year, we had a few illegal drones,” explained Ricky Taniguchi, the marathon’s managing director. “Drone operators, generally for most drones, require a line of sight to the drone. We will have officers attempting to identify the drone operator.”
Police are reminding everyone to have fun but be vigilant. If you see anything suspicious during the marathon, call (808) 792-6630.
Many runners we spoke with say they’re aware, but their focus will be on the race.
“I think after the Boston Marathon, it kind of brought awareness to it, but it hasn’t stopped me,” said runner Lauren Walters. “I’m pretty excited. I look forward to it every year. This is my sixth time doing it.”
“Most runners, we’re just focused on running the next mile, the next half-mile,” said runner Phil Whittington.
“We’re really grateful to keep this marathon strong, successful, and most importantly, safe,” Barahal said.
Traffic control measures
Special traffic controls will be in effect in the Downtown, Kaka‘ako, Ala Moana, Waikīkī, Diamond Head, Kāhala, ‘Āina Haina, Niu Valley, and East Honolulu areas for the 45th running of the Honolulu Marathon on Sunday, Dec. 10.
Beginning at 12:30 a.m., one or more lanes will be closed and/or coned until the athletes complete each section of the course. Roadways will be progressively opened as the athletes clear the area.
Tow-away zones are in effect from 1 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sunday.
The Marathon route runs along Ala Moana Boulevard, to Nimitz Highway, right onto Nu‘uanu Avenue, right onto King Street, right onto Kapi‘olani Boulevard, right onto Pi‘ikoi Street, left onto Ala Moana Boulevard, right onto Kalākaua Avenue, left onto Monsarrat Avenue, right onto Pākī Avenue, left onto Diamond Head Road, right onto 18th Avenue, right onto Kīlauea Avenue, right onto Wai‘alae Avenue, to the H-1 Freeway (eastbound), to Kalaniana‘ole Highway (all lanes makai/ocean side), left onto Hawai‘i Kai Drive, right onto Keahole Street, right turn back to Kalaniana’ole Highway (westbound), left onto Keala‘olu Avenue, right onto Kāhala Avenue, to Diamond Head Road, left onto Kalākaua Avenue to the finish line at Kapi‘olani Park.
Road closures, traffic detours
The following roadways will be closed or restricted on Sunday, Dec. 10:
18th Avenue from Diamond Head Road to Kīlauea Avenue until runners clear the area. Traffic will be detoured at Diamond Head Road and Makapu‘u Avenue. Local traffic only access to Diamond Head Crater by Civil Defense, FAA, and National Guard personnel.
Ala Moana Boulevard from Atkinson Drive to Ward Avenue will be detoured from 12:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. in preparation for the 5 a.m. marathon start.
Ala Moana Boulevard/Nimitz Highway from Ward Avenue to Nu‘uanu Avenue from 2:30 a.m. Koko Head-bound traffic will be detoured left to Smith Street. Use Vineyard Boulevard as a detour route.
Diamond Head Road, Kāhala and Keala‘olu avenues will be controlled by police when the volume of runners would interfere with the safe movement of vehicles and runners.
Hawai‘i Kai Drive makai lanes from Kalaniana‘ole Highway to Keahole Street from about 2:30 .m. until the area is clear. The mauka-side lanes (i.e., towards the mountains) will be contra-flowed for two-way traffic.
H-1 Freeway in both directions from the Wai‘alae Avenue off-ramp/22nd Avenue to Ainakoa Avenue. H-1 traffic will be detoured from 3:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Kāhala Towers, Kāhala Hotel and Resort, and Wai‘alae Country Club traffic will be permitted via ʻAukai Avenue and Pueo Street when safe.
Kalākaua Avenue will be detoured left onto Kūhiō Avenue from 3:30 a.m.
Kalākaua Avenue mauka-side between Monsarrat Avenue and Poni Moi Road from 4:30 a.m. until the marathon is over. The makai lanes will be contra-flowed for two-way traffic at about 9 a.m. Limited to resident traffic only; patrons of the Outrigger Canoe Club and Elks Club must enter via Kapahulu Avenue.
Kalani‘anaole Highway from Ainakoa Street to Hawai‘i Kai Drive makai-side will have restricted access from 2:30 a.m. The mauka-side of the highway will be contra-flowed for two-way traffic. West-bound Kalaniana‘ole Highway traffic will be detoured onto Ainakoa Street to Malia Street to Kīlauea Avenue.
Kalani‘anaole Highway will be closed to through traffic from Hawai‘i Kai Drive to Keahole Street from about 3:30 a.m. until the area is clear. Traffic will be detoured onto Hawai‘i Kai Drive via Kawaihae to Lunalilo Home Road. Maunalua Bay boat ramp traffic must enter from the Koko Head end.
Kapahulu Avenue makai-bound will be closed at Kūhiō Avenue at 1:30 a.m. Local traffic will be allowed after 9 a.m.
Kapi‘olani Boulevard in both direction from King Street to Pi‘ikoi Street at 2:30 a.m. Ewa-bound traffic will be detoured to Pi‘ikoi Street.
Keahole Street makai-bound lanes from about 2:30 a.m. until the area is clear. Traffic will be contra-flowed in the mauka-bound lanes for two-way flow. Entrance and exit from the Hawai‘i Kai Shopping Center, COSTCO, etc. will be permitted.
Keala‘olu Avenue from Wai‘alae Avenue to Kāhala Avenue from about 5:30 a.m. until the area is clear. Local Traffic may be permitted, only by direction of officers, at Aukai Avenue.
Kīlauea Avenue from 18th Avenue to Wai‘alae Avenue, all east-bound lanes will be closed at 4 a.m. until runners clear the area. West-bound lanes will be contra-flowed to permit two-way traffic. Vehicular traffic exiting the lower Kāhala area must cross Kīlauea Avenue at Hunakai Street. Expect delays until 11 a.m.
King Street from Nu‘unau Avenue to Kapi‘olani Boulevard from 2:30 a.m. Traffic will be detoured at Smith Street.
Monsarrat Avenue from Kalākaua Avenue to Pākī Avenue from 4:30 a.m. until event over (limited to tour buses). No Parking Tow-Away Zone, both sides of Monsarrat Avenue from Kalākaua Avenue to Pākī Avenue.
Pākī Avenue from Monsarrat Avenue to Kalākaua Avenue from 4:30 a.m. for the duration of the marathon. Local traffic only access to Diamond Head Tennis Courts from 9 a.m.
Pi‘ikoi Street in both directions from Kapi‘olani Boulevard to Ala Moana Boulevard from 2:30 a.m.
Some bus routes will be canceled and/or detoured. Bus riders may call TheBus or visit the O‘ahu Transit Services website for details.