Friday, December 6, 2002

On the run
The number of Japanese entries in Sunday's Honolulu Marathon has recovered to more than 16,500.

Japanese rebound boosts marathon

Star-Bulletin Staff

Final entries for the 30th Honolulu Marathon will easily beat 30,000, with more than half the entrants coming from Japan, according to the Honolulu Marathon Association.

The race, which kicks off 5 a.m. Sunday on Ala Moana, will remain among the largest in the world. Last year, the marathon was the world's sixth largest.

As of Dec. 2, the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism had calculated race-related direct economic expenditures at $62.2 million, according to Eugene Tian, DBEDT's tourism research chief. That number will rise after the final participant count is available, he said.

The Honolulu Marathon Associated would like to see a broader look at the value of the race.

"The direct expenditure represents only part of the economic impact," said association President Jim Barahal. The association is taking bids for an independent study of the economic contribution of next year's marathon.

"It's been seven years since the last comprehensive study," said Barahal. "We thought we'd like to take a real look at it again."

As of yesterday, a little more than 29,000 people had signed up for the Honolulu race. Of those, 16,508 are from Japan, 4,951 are from the mainland, 6,292 are local and 1,258 are from foreign countries other than Japan. Final entries are still being tabulated.

Typically, about four out of every five Honolulu Marathon registrants actually finish the 26-mile race.

Entries from Japan have been on the downturn since peaking at 21,717 in 1995. This year's showing marks a significant improvement from 9,159 Japanese entries last year, and is a boost to Hawaii's tourism economy, according to Barahal. Overall arrivals from Japan to Hawaii are down 11.8 percent year-over-year through October, according to the state.

This year's increase in Japanese entries is a result of pent-up demand from last year, as well as efforts to reach new markets within the country, Barahal has said.

Of this year's entries, 54.3 percent are men and 45.7 percent are women.

Honolulu Marathon

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