The Kona Marathon has seen a lot of changes with new courses and new owners in its more than two decades running, but its biggest change comes this year with its cancellation.
For the first time in the race’s history, the marathon’s organizers announced Wednesday the 27th annual UCC Coffee Kona Marathon, originally scheduled for Sunday, June 21, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to the canceled full 26.2-mile marathon, the Kona Half Marathon, the Kona Quarter Marathon and the Kona 5K races were also canceled, all scheduled to take place June 21.
“Sadly, given the inability to run a mass start event in the present conditions, and travel restrictions like Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors, a decision was made to cancel the 2020 UCC Coffee Kona Marathon,” organizers said in an email, which was also sent out to the marathon’s registered athletes. “All registrants will be deferred to the 2021 UCC Coffee Kona Marathon.”
Last week, Gov. David Ige extended the state’s stay-at-home order to May 31.
“We have been watching the effects of COVID-19 globally, monitoring the travel restrictions to Hawaii, self-quarantine requirements, the economic impact, and county road use policies,” the email said. “Without clarity regarding what lies ahead for events greater than 10 people in Hawaii and abroad, we have come to a consensus.”
The tentative date for the marathon next year is June 20, 2021. The courses for the full and half marathons are in Waikoloa with the start and finish lines near Queens’ MarketPlace.
The Kona Marathon organization said in an email athletes who had been registered for this year’s race will receive an invitation via email to complete deferred entry for the 2021 marathon.
Jason Brosseau and Bree Brown were the top male and female runners at last year’s Kona Marathon. Brosseau’s finish time of two hours, 44 minutes and 57 seconds was a course record while the marathon has been held in Waikoloa. Brown won her third straight Kona Marathon with 3:23:53.
Brown was also the top female runner at this year’s Big Island International Marathon, held in Hilo. The marathon, held on March 15, took place the week before Hawaii’s first stay-at-home order from Gov. Ige went into effect.
“This was not an easy decision, but we are looking forward to shifting gears to creatively start planning for a fabulous 2021 event experience,” the email said. “Take care of yourselves, physically and emotionally.”