9. Honolulu Marathon
Most runners dont need an excuse to visit Hawaii, particularly in early December when most of the Northern Hemisphere is cloaked in cold, wet weather. But if you are looking for one, the Honolulu Marathon should do it. Its a big race with a big atmosphere. Much of that atmosphere is created by the Japanese, who provide the majority of the 30,000 runners in the field, most of the supporters and the events big sponsors. Although the race starts painfully early, in the darkness at 5am, which limits the crowd support and the sea views, its still quite hot and humid in the latter part of the event.The course: The course starts in Ala Moana Beach Park, and finishes at Kapiolani Park. Along the way it takes in Honolulus notable sights, including Waikiki Beach, Diamond Head and Koko Head Crater. There are two modest climbs at seven and 23 miles, but most of the course is flat.
Highs: The Japanese cheering sections in the staging area before the start.
Lows: Getting up at 3am for that 5am start.
Watch out for: The heat and humidity. Despite the early start, most runners still complain about it.
Contact: Honolulu Marathon Office, 3435 Waialae Avenue, Suite 208, Honolulu, Hawaii 96816, USA; 001 808 734 7200