Making its return after a five-year hiatus, the Honolulu Rainbow EKIDEN will be held on Sunday, March 10, 2024. This recreational relay race organized by JTB Hawaii Travel, LLC is open to the public and invites casual runners and even more serious marathoners to engage in a fun sporting event.
Participants will find themselves making five 5 km laps on a path that starts at Kapiolani Park, past the Waikiki Aquarium, and to the lookout point of Diamond Head, overlooking the cerulean Pacific Ocean before turning around.
Choose between a 5k fun run and walk, or a 3 to 5-person team entry, which starts at 8:00 a.m., and wake up to the pristine scenery of a few Honolulu landmarks while engaging in more social activities and making new friends. If you are lucky, you may end up seeing some humpback whales while running the seaside stretch of the race. There is even a new kids’ race, the ’Oli ’Oli Challenge for children 12 years old or younger that starts at 10:00 a.m.
Following the race, Hawaii’s largest grand parade will march down Kalakaua Avenue to inaugurate the festivities. Then, that evening, a world-class fireworks display, Nagaoka Fireworks, will take place for all to see from Waikiki Beach.
This year, the official ambassador for the Honolulu Rainbow EKIDEN 2024 will be Hitomi Shimatani, one of Japan’s leading singers.
Hailing from Hiroshima, Shimatani has captivated audiences with her versatile vocal prowess since her debut in July 1999. Her chart-topping music won her numerous accolades, including the National Cable Music Broadcasters New Artist Award, and her appearances on radio and television shows have made her a household name. In 2022, she released the single “Yorihayaku,” which was written as a support song for runners. It is this song that has been chosen as the official theme song for Honolulu Rainbow EKIDEN 2024.
Shimatani is scheduled to perform this song among other hits at a live mini concert on Saturday, March 9. Her inspiring tunes will motivate runners and is open to the general public at the Hawaii Convention Center’s first floor stage. There is no admission price, as it is free for all to attend, even those not participating in the run.
There is an entry fee for the Honolulu Rainbow EKIDEN 2024, which is $300. However, if booked before the end of 2023, the reduced early entry price is just $200.
Participants will receive a T-shirt and refreshments at the finish line, and part of the funds generated from entry fees will go to a great cause.
The organizer, JTB Hawaii Travel, LLC has decided to donate to local educational facilities and organizations dedicated to promoting sports development in Hawaii. In line with JTB Group’s efforts in striving “to foster peace and global interconnectedness through the creation of opportunities for meaningful human interaction,” the hope is to eventually greater access to sports events as the conduit for these cross-cultural synergies, while promoting healthier lifestyles, revitalizing communities, and addressing societal challenges.
In addition, to expand the magnitude of support from participants and sponsors, JTB Hawaii Travel, LLC initiated the collection of relief funds to support those who have lost so much from the Maui wildfires. Any donations made will be channeled through the JTB Goodwill Foundation, a non-profit organization in Hawaii designed to support cultural exchange and relationship-building between Hawaii, Japan, and the countries in the Asia-Pacific region. One hundred percent of the monies will be directed to provide community relief and reconstruction support for schools and communities, those particularly affected in West Maui.
So gather some friends or family members together to support a few great causes while spending quality time together enjoying some live music or running a relay race on the east end of Waikiki. It will be great for your physical health, your mental well-being, and the emotional assurance that you are helping many people in need. For more information, visit www.rainbowekiden.com.