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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, December 6, 2002

Marathon pays homage to pioneering baby boomers

By Michael Tsai
Advertiser Staff Writer

A spry 30 years old this year, the Honolulu Marathon has the look — and apparently the ears — of a 50-year-old.

And that's just fine with the Honolulu Marathon Association, which has found it good business and good karma to pay special attention to baby boomers, the generation that championed the first American running revolution of the 1970s.

"It's true that a lot of the bigger races are growing, in part, because of participation from baby boomers," said association president Jim Barahal.

Organizers of the Honolulu Marathon, one of the largest and most established marathons in the country, have for years sought to perpetuate the history of the sport. Over the years, marathon week in Honolulu has served to bring together current elite runners with past champions like Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers, both regular visitors to Hawai'i.

Barahal said the group is looking to provide more activities geared to participants and their friends and family. In that regard, the marathon's recent involvement in concert promotion has been a big success.

Last year, the marathon brought in GetBack!, a Beatles tribute band, to play at the marathon week lu'au (formerly known as the carbo-load party). Tonight, former Beach Boy Brian Wilson will headline the event, which has been sold out for weeks.

"At first we thought we'd just do this for the 30th anniversary," said race director Jonathan Cross. "But the response has been so good, we'll probably try to keep it going."

Negotiations with next year's performer, another boomer fave, are close to being completed (though names can't be dangled until a contract is signed). An announcement on next year's lineup is expected early next year.