Honolulu Triathlon gets new course
The stadium route will take pressure off East Oahu residents
This year's Honolulu Triathlon has a new organizer, a new course -- and Mayor Mufi Hannemann's blessing.
The race will be on Mother's Day, May 14. The new course starts and ends at Ala Moana Beach Park. The bicycle portion will take participants west toward Aloha Stadium on the same roadways used for last month's Great Aloha Run and back.
"I can't tell you how truly excited I am in bringing the race back on a new course," said Bill Burke, this year's organizer.
The old course started and ended at Kapiolani Park in Waikiki. The bicycle portion took participants to and from Hawaii Kai.
Hannemann had threatened to deny this year's Honolulu Triathlon a permit unless community complaints about accidents and near accidents were addressed. The problems occurred in the Oct. 9 JAL Honolulu ITU World Championships age-group triathlon on the Waikiki-to-Hawaii Kai course.
"In response to concerns from some East Honolulu residents about the number of events in their area, and in an effort to meet the Honolulu Triathlon's needs for a safe, picturesque route, we have worked this out with the help of the triathlon as well as the state Department of Transportation," Hannemann said.
Richard Turbin of the Waialae/Kahala Neighborhood Board said he and his neighbors host many races, "and we do it willingly to be good citizens. But it's nice that some of the pressure is taken off us."
Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Chairman Lester Muraoka said, "I'm very pleased that the mayor has worked out a plan that will accommodate the various races on the island without putting all of the burden on the people of Hawaii Kai."
The bicycle portion of the new course will affect mostly businesses. However, it will also cut off Kalihi Kai residents who live makai of Nimitz Highway and military families who live in Navy housing makai of Kamehameha Highway.
One of the businesses that will also be cut off is John Dominis Restaurant. The Mayor's Office said it is trying to figure out how to lessen the impact on the restaurant's Mother's Day customers. It has notified the Navy of the race. And race officials are scheduled to make a presentation in front of the Kalihi/Palama Neighborhood Board later this month.
Board Chairwoman Bernadette Young said she agrees with Hannemann that East Oahu residents host many of the island's events.
"We'll let the mayor do this, work it out," Young said. "The race brings in so much money to the state, we'll let them come to the board, talk about it."
Burke said, "I can't thank the mayor's office enough for dealing with a difficult situation last year."