The 44th running of the Honolulu Marathon took place on December 11th 2016 and is the fourth largest marathon in the US and attracts around 30,000 participants.

This year’s marathon had 30,126 entries compared to 30,797 in 2015. The marathon had 49% female participants, which is more than any other big city marathon. The marathon is unique in that there has never been a limit on the number of participants and there is no cut off time, therefore attracting both fast runners as well as walkers.

glenn-ah6vf-at-315-am-heading-to-med-tent-set-upGlenn Martinez, AH6VF, heading to set up at the Finish Line at 3:15 AM

Amateur operators arrived at the marathon and were on the air at 4 A.M. and some even reported working 18 hours until the last walker crossed the finish line. There were 13 Aid Stations located along the course, manned by some 2,300 volunteers working in shifts, serving water, sports drink, and providing professional medical assistance and communications. This year 35 amateur radio operators provided communications on the 2 meters bands, the 70 centimeters band and some even used the 800 mhz digital non-amateur radios, to communicate vital information between race organizers, aid stations, transportation vehicles, and the Honolulu Police Department Operations Center, as well as the finish line.

gloria-kh6gloGloria Hall, KH6GLO, working at Aid Station 5

Radio amateurs provided vital communicated from vans and aid stations to the medical tent. From a head injury to cramps and stomach pains, hams were there to ensure the aid station and the medical teams where ready to treat anyone who required or requested assistance. Amateur operators always kept the Net Control Station manned by Ralph Toyama, NH6PY, apprised of the location of the medical vans so the NCS could send them where they were needed in a timely manner.

wh6etf-aid-station-9WH6ETF, Brandon Nuss provides vital communications at Aid Station #9

The race was broadcast live on KITV, the local ABC affiliate, and radio coverage was handled by KKNE.

Radio amateurs are again behind the scenes providing a critical component at no cost to the Honolulu Marathon. It’s just another way amateurs give back to the community. More amateurs are needed for this event and other events throughout the year and the ARRL clubs are training and testing almost monthly. Contact the writer for more information to get licensed or involved.

“I loved my first marathon experience!!! And I have all the Honolulu Marathon volunteers, cheerleaders, malasada makers, water/sponge people, and 24,000 running companions to thank….MAHALO! What a blast!!!!” Runner Rebecca Pickett.

front-left-to-right-rick-kh6om-dana-wh6god-clem-kh7hoFront left to right – Rick Kimitsuka (KH6OM), Dana Pagalaboyd (WH6GOD) & Clem Jung (KH7HO) providing communications at Aid Station 3

“I participated in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Honolulu Marathon as a Ham radio operator.  I thought this year was the best run and we had the most Hams participating.” Clem Jung, KH7HO.

More information about the Honolulu Marathon can be found at

More photos of Amateur Radio Operators assisting in the marathon, please click here.

Written by Stacy Holbrook, KH6OWL
ARRL Public Information Officer – Honolulu
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