Kauai’s Runner Brett Ely wins Iwaki Marathon

IWAKI CITY — Brett Ely, the 2012 The Kaua‘i Marathon Female Champion, won the Iwaki City Sunshine Marathon Sunday, said an excited Art Umezu, the Kaua‘i Film Commissioner and a liaison for the County of Kaua‘i with Japan and its visitors.

Brett Ely, The Kaua‘i Marathon Female Champion, holds her Iwaki City Sunshine Marathon prize while being interviewed by the media Sunday in Japan.

Brett Ely, The Kaua‘i Marathon Female Champion, holds her Iwaki City Sunshine Marathon prize while being interviewed by the media Sunday in Japan.

“I just got the call and they said she won,” Umezu said in a phone conversation. “I don’t know if she broke a record, set a record or anything. But people are just excited she won.”

Ely, participating in her first international running competition, finished the Iwaki City Sunshine Marathon by setting a female course record, crossing the line at 2:49:04, states a release from The Kaua‘i Marathon.

Running in “moderate conditions” among a field of 4,865 runners over the course, which took runners from the Iwaki Civic Track and Field Grounds to Onohama Port in Japan, the course still bears signs of the devastation from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

“Racing and winning a marathon in Japan was a life dream come true,” Ely says in the release. “I want to thank the Kaua‘i Visitors Bureau and The Kaua‘i Marathon for this incredible opportunity. I ran every step filled with energy from my friends on Kaua‘i, and from the people of Iwaki who came to support or compete in the race. It was an honor to break the tape in my first international marathon finish.”

Ely’s win comes on heels of the 2012 Iwaki marathon when Tyler McCandless, another Kaua‘i Marathon champion, won his first international competition in the final kilometer when McCandless overtook the second place finisher by a scant nine seconds, stopping the clock at 2:27:32.

The Kaua‘i Marathon spokesperson said McCandless and Ely are planning to return to Kaua‘i on Sept. 1 to defend their titles.

The Kaua‘i Marathon has partnered with The Iwaki City Sunshine Marathon by hosting the winner to their respective races for the past four years.

Iwaki City is located in the Tohoku Region in Japan, approximately 125 miles north of Tokyo. Once known for its coal mining, Iwaki City started focusing on promoting tourism following the decline of coal mining as an industry.

Today, Iwaki City boasts approximately 10 million visitors, annually.

The earthquake and tsunami which hit the region on March 11, 2011, devastated the area, but the leaders of Iwaki City say they are recovering and are appreciative of all the support and donations to the area.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., during a signing of a formal sister city agreement with Kazuichi Ishii, director of Iwaki City, Tokyo Office, in September 2011, said, “Sister city relationships promote peace through mutual respect, understanding and cooperation. It offers communities the opportunity to develop partnerships on many levels — educational, professional, technical, municipal and, of course, cultural.”

The Fifth Annual Kaua‘i Marathon will be run on Sept. 1 in Po‘ipu and offers the full marathon and half marathon distances, certified by the USATF.

The Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa will serve as the headquarters hotel, hosting the Sports & Fitness Expo, event registration, fun run and other activities related to The Kaua‘i Marathon.

To register for this year’s event, or for more information Visit www.thekauaimarathon.com.

Credit: Dennis Fujimoto – The Garden Island