Winners Return to Park to Sign Autographs

Categories: Elite Athletes,Race Week Activities

The two winners of the Honolulu Marathon returned to Kapiolani Park on Monday morning (Dec. 9) to greet and sign autographs for some of the more than 22,000 people who ran behind them. After waiting in line to obtain their finishers certificates, some of the runners waited in another line of get autographs from Gilbert Chepkwony of Kenya and Ehitu Kiros of Ethiopia. Some of the Japanese runners waited in yet another line to be photographed holding their certificates, which had their names and finish times, with Diamond Head in the background. The two winners signed cards bearing photos of them crossing the finish line. They also signed running numbers and finishers certificates. Several male runners stripped off their orange finishers shirts to have them signed by Chepkwony and Kiros. The runners also took pictures of and posed for photos with the two winners. Japanese runner Hayato Date, who ran his 19th Honolulu Marathon, pulled out marathon posters dating back to 2004 and 2005 to have the winners sign. The 38-year-old resident of Uchiko in Ehime prefecture has autographs of all winners since 2004 on his two posters. He said he will be back next year for his 20th running in Honolulu. The practice of having the winners sign autographs is unique among the world’s marathons, said Zane Branson, agent for Kiros and more than two dozen other elite runners. “But there’s a lot about the Honolulu Marathon that is unique,” he said. “The athletes enjoy doing this,” Branson said. “It allows them to interact with the people.” The race showed consistency at a high level, drawing more than 30,000 entries for the second year in a row. A total of 30,291 registered for the race, just 792 fewer than last year. Japanese entries were down by 2,858 from 2012 but Hawaii entries were up by more than 1,600. Of this year’s entries, 22,599 started the race and 22,077 finished, according to race officials. The last finishers were two men and three women from Japan who crossed the finish line together at 12:56 a.m. Monday (Dec. 9), 19 hours and 56 minutes after the race started.

Author: News Team