HONOLULU (07-Dec) -- On Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day here, officials of both the Honolulu Marathon and the Honolulu city government told the local media that they were prepared to keep the over 25,000 runners set to run in next Sunday's marathon and 10-K safe.
"It's something that comes up everywhere we go," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell of security concerns. But he assured the assembled media that Sunday's race would be both fun and safe. "Honolulu rates as the safest big city in America," he reminded reporters.
Indeed, Captain Gordon Gomes of the Honolulu Police Department said that "there were no credible threats" against the city or the race at the present time. Hawaii enjoys a natural safety barrier, the mayor said, calling the thousands of kilometers of ocean in every direction "the blue continent."
City officials said that a battery of 45 traffic cameras would be used as security monitoring devices, that a coordinated plan was in place between all city agencies to deal with any emergency, and that even 2000 potholes had been filled over the last week to assure the runners, more than half of them from Japan, of safe footing.
Honolulu Marathon president, Jim Barahal, said that every runner --even those taking longer than eight hours to finish-- would be looked after. Barahal, a medical doctor, prides himself on preparedness. That's especially important here because 37% of the field for Sunday's race will be first-time marathoners, and the blazing sun hitting the slower runners after the sun comes up can really take its toll.
"Now we focus on putting on a safe event," said Barahal, whose race will be the fourth of fifth-largest in the United States this year in terms of finishers.
PHOTO: Honolulu Marathon President Jim Barahal, left, with Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell at a press conference at the race finish line in Kapiolani Park (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)