In the late 1970s, Hawaii had the most runners per-capita than any other state. Some called it the “running capital of the world.” Hawaii was also an early adopter of the 100-mile race and other ultras distances races. Similar to the Fort Mead 100 in Maryland (see episode 75), Hawaii’s first 100-milers grew out of ultra-distance relays and shorter ultras.
In 1976, “Primo Ultramarathon and Relays” began at Hawaii Kai on the eastern tip of Oahu, using a four-mile paved road loop. A solo 50-miler was included and by 1978 expanded into solo distances of 50K, 50-miles, 100K, and 100 miles. A massive 40-mile relay was also held each year with teams of ten runners.
Running on the islands exploded. This popularity did not happen by chance. It came about because of many key individuals who devoted much of their lives to make distance running races available to the general public in Hawaii. To have an appreciation of the first 100-milers established in Hawaii, one must learn about the rich running history that evolved there over the years.
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