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Scenic Route


A MARATHON in the Koloa-Poipu area of Kauai could provide a much needed pick-me-up to the state’s slumping tourism industry (not to mention an annual sporting event that benefits the island).


“First and foremost, I wanted to create a legacy event that would generate net proceeds for charity and keep it on the island of Kauai,” says Jeff Sacchini, founder of the Kauai Marathon. Scheduled for 2009, this is the first marathon for Sacchini and his team, although other marathons have been held on Kauai as recently as 2003. The course, however, is new.
Events like the NFL Pro Bowl at Aloha Stadium and the Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Kona bring competitors and dollars into the state. But, Kauai hasn’t had a major sporting event since the 2006 PGA Grand Slam of Golf, which is now played in Bermuda.

Sacchini says the current economy has had an adverse effect on the event.  “It’s been difficult to get out and attract the sponsors I was hoping to get,” he says.

But it isn’t just for 2009. “I hope that we do this event every year long after I’m gone,” Sacchini says. “For me, it may not be the most ideal time to start, but at some point the economy is going to get better. ... At some point tourism is going to be up, not down. And at some point we’ll be able to take this event and elevate it. My goal is to be one of the top destination marathons in the United States.”

Marketing efforts have begun with full-page ads in Runner’s World, Running Times and Hawaii Sport magazines. To avoid first-year complications, among them traffic congestion, only 1,500 runners will compete.

No estimates were given on revenue or cost. The Honolulu Marathon, with 25,000 runners, has an estimated $101 million impact on local businesses, according to the December 2007 issue of Hawaii Business.

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Hawaii Business,December