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Favorite Places to Run

Favorite Places to Run – Ironman Marathon Route

Photo by Chris McCormack / CC BY

On our vacation to the Big Island, I was stoked (excited) about where the fam (family) and I were staying. Ali’i Drive (dramatic pause). Yes, Ali’i Drive. The same road that is part of the marathon course for the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.

The first morning, I was out the door at 6am. Unfortunately, I didn’t research the marathon route and ran in the wrong direction! After a mile, there was this huge hill that I died trying to climb. Actually, I made it to the top but had to slow to a walk a couple of times (or a few times).

This is hill I died on!

Now, I did see a few runners/walkers and encountered many cyclists so at least I wasn’t alone in my agony! Later on, I finally did google the marathon course so I was ready to go the next morning. At the break of dawn, I was back out there. This time I was running in the right direction.

There are some great beaches and ocean views on Ali’i Drive. There were lots of runners (and lots of hotels and resorts) that gave me inspiration and some inner competition (racing against another runner without them knowing it).

Bike lanes for runner & cyclists!

The road is very safe with bike lanes on both sides of the street. There will be some cyclists so stay focused on the road ahead of you. If you run far enough north, you will run into Historic Kailua Village which will be crowded with restaurants, shops, cars and people.

You can run around 5 1/2 miles, on Ali’i Drive, from the Kona Coast Resort (where I stayed) to the end of the road. You can’t really run on Ka’ahumanu Highway though I did see some cyclists, on the highway, outside of Kona and past the airport. So…if you want to run the entire marathon course, it is possible. On to the photos!!!

Kahalu’u Beach Park…duh!

La’aloa (very sacred) Bay Beach Park!

Beautiful view of the coastline!

Lots of vacation homes around here!

Roadside shrine!

Passing some resorts!

Another Beach Park!

A very small church and the southern turnaround point of the Ironman marathon!

Free Things to Do in Kauai – Kauai Path, Kapaa…A Runner’s Paradise

kauai path

Kaui Path Near Niu Street

Free things to do in Kauai? Kauai Path in Kapaa is #1 of 53 things to do in Kapaa according to Trip Advisor. This beautiful multi-use path can be described as “Ke Ala Hele Makalae” which is Hawaiian for “The Path that Goes by the Coast.” The vision for Kauai Path, Inc. (a non-profit community organization) is for the trail to eventually follow the eastern shoreline for 17 miles from Nawiliwili to Anahola on the island of Kauai.

Kaui Path partially follows a former railroad line once used to haul the island’s sugarcane. The route offers access to parks, beaches along with all the shopping and restaurants of Old Town Kapaa. Along the path, you will encounter many informative signs sharing knowledge about important cultural and historical sites. You will also learn the native names different watercourses along plants and animals native to the area.

Presently, there are 7 miles of the path completed. Unfortunately, they are in two disconnected segments. The southern segment (phase 1) connects Lydgate Park to Wailua Beach Park and is 2.5 miles in length. The northern segment (phase 2) extends along the coast, for 4.5 miles,  from Lihi Park, in Kapaa, to Ahihi Point in Kealia. There is a 2 mile gap between the two segments and the only to bridge this is by traveling on Kuhio Highway which is busy and has narrow shoulders (I won’t even run there).

Kaui Path is a multi-use trail and the following etiquette guildlines are in place so people can fully enjoy segment of Ke Ala Hele Makalae:
  • Be Courteous—All path users should be respectful of other users regardless of their mode of travel, speed, or skill level.
  • Keep Path Clear—Use no more than one-half of the path when in a group. Move off of the path if you are stopped.
  • Be Predictable—Travel in a consistent manner. Look behind you before changing position on the path.
  • Keep Right—Stay to the right side on the path except when passing. Move back or to the right once safely past.
  • Respect Private Property—Stay on designated paths or roadways. Avoid shortcutting switchbacks.
  • Signal When Passing—Give a clear warning signal by voice, bell, or horn before you pass.
  • Yield to Slower Traffic—Cyclists yield to pedestrians. “Wheels yield to Heels.”
  • Respect the ‘Aina & the Park—Keep litter in trash receptacles.

running dog

Dogs may be walked on Kauai Path, subject to the restrictions listed below:
  • Dogs may be on the paved portion of the path plus six feet on either side.
  • Handler must be in control of dog at all times
  • Two dogs per handler max
  • Must have poop bag in evidence.
  • Dog owner must remove and dispose of dog’s feces
  • Dog must be licensed
  • Maximum leash length 6 ft. (No extendable leashes allowed.)
  • Must leave path area if dog gets aggressive
kauai path

If it rains, there can be flooding on parts of the path.

My Experience Running on Kauai Path

I only ran on Phase 2, of Kauai Path, so I can only comment on that segment. Unfortunately, I didn’t even know Phase 1 existed until after my Kauai trip. The eastern coastline is just breathtakingly beautiful in the early morning. I started both runs at the break of dawn. If you run later in the morning, you will encounter lots of families on rental bikes.

My first run started off of Niu Street which is around .4 miles from Lihi Park; the beginning of Phase 2 of the path. I ran around 2 1/2 miles, just past Kealia Beach, before turning around.

For my second run, I parked at a lookout point between Kawaihau Road and Kealia Beach which around 1.6 miles north of the beginning of the path. I ran all the way to the end (2 1/2 miles), where it became a dirt trail, turned around and returned to my starting point.

kauai path

End of Kauai Path and the beginning of a hiking or mountain bike trail.

I Love to Run at – Ala Moana!

ala moanaI love to run at Ala Moana! For years, Ala Moana Beach Park & Magic Island (‘Aina Moana) has been a favorite running spot. There’s always a good vibe going on with all the runners, walkers, sun worshipers, picnickers, swimmers, surfers, paddle boarders, et cetera.
The 2.6 mile loop will take you down Ala Moana Blvd, then along a half mile stretch of beach, then on the asphalt paths around Magic Island which will give you lovely views of Mamala Bay, Magic Island Lagoon and the Ala Wai Boat Harbor.
ala moana

Parking and Amenities

Parking is free but can be scare during the weekend when locals come out to barbecue, party and play. There are plenty of restrooms though the drinking fountains are suspect (sometimes they work…sometimes not).
There are concession stands if you want food and drink or a shaved ice! There are always events going on, during the weekend, so you might have to park at Ala Moana Shopping Center across the street (shopping opportunities?).
ala moana

Swimming Anyone?

If you want to go for a little swim, after your run, just take a plunge! There is a lifeguard and showers to wash off that sea salt. If you’re an experienced swimmer, there is a channel 20-30 feet deep and 1000 yards long (protected by a reef) fronting the beach.

There is also a homeless element in the park. It’s not a big deal, during the day, but may be an issue at night. HPD (Honolulu Police Department) does make their presence known so all should be safe as long as the sun is in the sky!
ala moana

A Little History

In the early 1900’s, Ala Moana was a wetland and a dump for Hawaiian Dredging’s dredged earth waste. In 1934, while on a visit to Honolulu, President Franklin D. Roosevelt participated in the opening ceremonies on Ala Moana “Path to the Sea.” In the 1950’s, sand was dumped creating the beach.

Magic Island (‘Aina Moana) was created in 1964 as part of a resort. The resort plan fell through and it was converted to a park.
gilligan's island


Magic Island and Ala Wai Boat Harbor are featured in the opening credits of Gilligan’s Island. The “Minnow” leaves the harbor on a Three Hour Tour…

I Love to Run at – Pearl Harbor Bike Path

neal blaisdell

I love to run on the Pearl Harbor Bike Path which is one of my favorite places to run. No, this is not the most scenic of routes but there are 5.2 miles of relatively safe asphalt to run on.

Yes, there are some streets which you need to cross and the occasional moped to watch out for but the bike path is mostly flat and makes for an easy 10 mile up & back run.

You can start at the Aiea Bay State Recreational Area which is across from Aloha Stadium. I usually park at Neal Blaisdell Park and head west on the path.

homeless news

Side Note

Now, there is a homeless presence that has grown over the last couple of years. I’ve noticed that there are some tents between the path and the harbor. Homelessness is an island-wide problem even effecting Waikiki.

The last time I ran Pearl Harbor Bike Path, there was a early morning stabbing (near Neal Blaisdell Park). There was a news crew, near the tents, and I was actually interviewed (my 5 seconds of fame).

heco h1

Heading West

The Hawaii Electric (HECO) power plant is almost next to Neal Blaisdell Park. There is occasional traffic back and forth, across the path (employees on bicycles or motor carts), so there is a security guard posted for safety.

At around the 1 mile point, you will be running alongside an elevated section of Interstate H-1. I find it strange that, being a interstate freeway, H-1 does not connect with any other states (duh!).


After you cross Lehua Avenue, you will pass the Pearl City Wastewater Pump Station. Then there’s a pedestrian bridge over Waiawa Stream (wrecking yard on your right).

The Pearl Harbor Bike Path runs another 2 miles before ending at Waipahu Depot Road. The scenery is kind of barren but after Waipio Point Access Road there is the Ted Makalena Golf Course on your left. Protection Status