Competitive Field Set For Kauai Speed Challenge

Photo: Running USA

Defending champion Mike Wardian hopes to secure the $15,000 prize.

From: Running USA

KAUAI, Hawaii — The Kauai Marathon is enticing runners from around the world to compete on Sunday, September 4, 2011 for its $15,000 Kauai Marathon Speed Challenge, one of the largest “Speed Challenge” purses offered in a United States running event.

The prize purse is based on a time bonus program: any runner that runs under 2 hours, 30 minutes (male) or 2:45 (female) receives a portion of the $15,000. If multiple runners eclipse the standard, the winner is guaranteed a $2500 bonus for the victory and the remaining prize money is shared amongst all runners who qualify.

Michael Wardian, 37, from Arlington, Virginia will be defending his 2010 Kauai Marathon title where he narrowly missed the $15,000 challenge by running an impressive 2:30:52. Wardian has been on a tear in 2011 winning the San Francisco Marathon, qualifying for the Olympic Trials with a 2:17:40 marathon and taking 3rd place in his debut at the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon through Death Valley.

Wardian will have to contend with young upstart Tyler McCandless who defeated Michael at the 2011 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. McCandless comes into the Kauai Marathon with the fastest marathon time this year with a 2:17:15.

Both Wardian and McCandless will be under pressure from a group of U.S.-based Kenyan athletes competing for the Duma Runner’s Club. David Tuwei who has a 2:13:44 marathon personal best from Grandma’s Marathon in 2008. Joining Tuwei will be Richard Kandie who hopes to improve upon last year’s Kauai Marathon performance where he led from the start, but failed to finish. Kandie has a marathon best of 2:22:24. Rounding out the field will be John Menune with a marathon best of 2:24:36.

In the women’s race, Ezzhani Nazha, 33, of Morocco has the fastest seed time in the race with a personal best of 2:35:23. Rumi Otani, the winner of the 2011 Iwaki City Sunshine Marathon in Japan, will challenge her. Becki Lassley, the 2010 Kauai Marathon women’s winner, will return to defend her title.

The third Kauai Marathon is going to be held on Sunday, September 4th beginning at 6:00am. The marathon, half-marathon and relay events will all start on Poipu Road in front of the Poipu Shopping Village. The first 11 miles are run together before the half-marathoners veer off into Kukui’ula Resort for their finish while the marathoners and relay teams head up Koloa Road to the neighborhoods of Lawai and Kalaheo. Upon completion of the event, all finishers receive a commemorative medallion. The marathon finisher’s party is located on the ocean front lawn at The Sheraton Kauai Resort beginning at 8:00am. Race participants as well as supporters can enjoy food, refreshments and live entertainment until the early afternoon.

The online registration deadline for this world-renowned event is fast approaching ending on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 at 11:59 Pacific Standard Time. Race packets, bibs and participant bags must be picked up at the Expo at the Sheraton Kauai Resort on Friday, September 2, 2011 or Saturday, September 3, 2011.

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