100% Pure Kona Coffee Half Marathon canceled

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KAILUA-KONA — Organizers of the 100% Pure Kona Coffee Half Marathon have canceled this weekend’s scheduled run over uncertainty whether there would be enough police officers available to assist with road closures.

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KAILUA-KONA — Organizers of the 100% Pure Kona Coffee Half Marathon have canceled this weekend’s scheduled run over uncertainty whether there would be enough police officers available to assist with road closures.

The race, a half marathon that runs from Coconut Grove Marketplace in Kailua Village to the End of the World in Keauhou, would have had its second run on Saturday, said race director Melissa Braswell. Last year, the event attracted 180 runners with even more expected this year, she added.

Braswell said race organizers had been working with the Hawaii Police Department to get approval for road closures associated with the race.

However, she said, police couldn’t guarantee the road closures without confirming they would have enough officers to assist with the event. Braswell said police wouldn’t necessarily know that until shortly before the race.

Rather than take the risk, she said, organizers canceled the event.

Organizers were requesting 14 officers for the event, the same number as last year. However, police were only able to provide eight officers for the 2015 run. Volunteers made up the other seven.

Braswell said using volunteers wasn’t an option this time around.

Maj. Sam Thomas, media liaison for the Hawaii Police Department, said providing officers for races is considered “special duty.”

That means officers aren’t required to work, instead typically coming in on a day off.

“It’s totally off regular time,” he said.

And because they aren’t paid by the department for special duty work — they’re instead paid by event organizers — it can be tricky to guarantee officers for an event.

As for how many officers are needed at events like this, he said, it’s a case-by-case situation determined by the specifics of the race.

When races plan to use a lane of traffic, like the Kona Coffee Half Marathon, officers need to be stationed at each intersection to prevent vehicles from driving across that lane.

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Braswell said the race is definitely off for this year.

Those that had already registered for the race were notified and received a refund, she added.

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