Last week, I shared with you a little history about the sugar industry on my home island of Kauai. We are definitely so fortunate to have this emergence of cultures and we take pride in the amazing food, design and compassion our residents share with each other. What you might not know is that Kauai is Hawaii’s fourth largest island and is sometimes called the “Garden Island,” which is an entirely accurate description. The oldest and northernmost island in the Hawaiian chain is draped in emerald valleys, sharp mountain spires and jagged cliffs aged by time and the elements. Centuries of growth have formed tropical rainforests, forking rivers and cascading waterfalls! Some parts of Kauai are only accessible by sea or air, revealing views beyond your imagination. More than just dramatic beauty, the island is home to a variety of outdoor activities.

While Kauai is famous for its dramatic cliffs, canyons and rainforests, it’s also home to some of Hawaii’s most picturesque beaches. 50 miles of shimmering white-sand coast is where you can enjoy overwhelmingly beautiful unspoiled views surround the island. Find activities for both daring and more relaxed travelers, from surfing Hanalei Bay’s waves in the North Shore to spotting whales and sea turtles at Poipu Beach Park in the south.

Kauai’s lush landscapes and pristine beaches are a feast for the senses. You’ll find a multitude of things to do around the island — whether it’s an exhilarating zip line adventure through the jungle, a relaxing day at the beach, or a kayaking trip on one of Kauai’s rivers. The Garden Isle is a true adventurer’s playground. For those seeking a quieter pace, the island offers plenty of additional opportunities to explore local culture, history and more — including museums, historical landmarks, farmers markets and more. You can tour the film locations of more than 60 movies and TV shows.

Each year on Labor Day weekend, Kauai welcomes visitors from all over the world to participate in the Kauai Marathon. The Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon begin in Poipu, the world-class resort community at the sunny southern end of the island, with routes sharing the first 11 miles. The courses follow the contour of the scenic coastline, offering magnificent views of the island’s picturesque beaches, rugged volcanic peaks, and green tropical rain forests. As dawn breaks, runners experience lush green vistas as they approach the shade of the century-old Tunnel of Trees before winding through misty Omao (my neighborhood) where the half marathoners enter Kukui’ula Resort offering spectacular ocean views for the last few miles. The full marathon heads out to Lawai before climbing to reveal stunning ocean views at the top of Kalaheo. The remaining miles are a gradual descent until runners receive a rousing island welcome upon their return to Poipu Beach.

The original purpose of the event was to gather residents and visitors together for a world-class race experience that fosters camaraderie, friendship, and charitable giving. While the main event is the Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon, there are many other festivities throughout the race weekend that bring people of all ages together to make this one of the most unique destination races in the world. From the Fun Run and Keiki events on Saturday morning to the Wilcox Health Sports and Fitness Expo complimentary presentations, to gorgeous dancers, cultural course entertainment, and volunteers and spectators on race day that inspire and encourage participants to keep going. This aloha spirit and community generosity make this a truly special event.

For the last two years, my husband Marty participated in the half marathon. In mid-May I had a total right hip replacement (I’m not ancient yet – only 45) and he decided to cheer with Christian (#GHKPUP) and myself from our driveway as the runners and walkers went past. It truly was an inspiring event to see the entire community come out and support the athletes. We were located near the ninth mile and were fortunate to have a local hula halau dance to the beat of the Ipu Heke across the street from our home. We were so very proud of our local ohana as well as all the participants and friends from all over the world that came to participate.

David Brown
Mulberry Seed Design