In Summary
  • The race started in the dark, at 5am local time, and was mostly run under the cover of darkness with the winners crossing the finish line at Kapiolani Park shortly after daybreak
  • Doha will have split evening sessions starting at 4.15pm running until, on average, 11pm
  • With athletics struggling to cling onto audiences post-Usain Bolt, such innovation as night races is the best way out

Sunday’s Honolulu Marathon gave a glimpse of what it takes to organise and run in a night marathon.

The race, won by Kenya’s Titus Ekiru and Vivian Kiplagat, started in the dark, at 5am local time, and was mostly run under the cover of darkness with the winners crossing the finish line at Kapiolani Park shortly after daybreak.

Of course not pitch-dark as the well-lit streets on Honolulu were easy to navigate.

There were key learning points from this race, especially with Doha hosting a mid-night marathon at next year’s IAAF World Championships which the Qatari capital will host from September 27 to October 6.

By the way, these will be eccentrically “Kenyan” championships, given the extraordinary support our athletes muster whenever they compete at the annual, season-opening Doha Diamond League meeting.

And given that the venue is just five hours away by air, scores of Kenyans will most certainly be willing to troop to Doha and snap up tickets to enjoy the 10-day championships which will have an evening-only programme due to the sweltering day-time heat that’s unhealthy to compete in.

Also unique to the Doha championships will be the first mixed relays on this stage.

The Asian Championships, that will run from April 18 to 25, will be used as a test event to perfect the air-conditioned Khalifa Stadium, venue for next October’s “Worlds.”

Khalifa Stadium will also host the season-opening IAAF Diamond League meeting on May 3 and 4.

In the bespoke changes adopted by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), Doha will have split evening sessions starting at 4.15pm running until, on average, 11pm.

The decathlon and heptathlon will also, for the first time, run concurrently.

Technically, the midnight marathon — described by IAAF President Seb Coe as “new and exciting” — means Kenyan runners selected for Doha, and their coaches, must calibrate their biological clocks in time for the

competition that will see the men’s and women’s marathon races blast off at midnight.

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