The People's Race Inc.: An Institutional Biography of the Honolulu Marathon Association

Tsai, Michael
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2015]
The Honolulu Marathon was founded in 1973 by Dr. Jack Scaff, the Mid-Pacific Road Runners Club, the American Medical Joggers Association, and the City and County of Honolulu. Inspired by the breakthrough performance of American marathon runners in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich and by the emerging research into the benefits of regular aerobic exercise, the race was a proving ground for Scaff’s then-controversial beliefs about the efficacy of long-distance running for patients recovering from cardiac incidents. Under the auspices of the non-profit Honolulu Marathon Association the race grew as the first American Running Boom took hold, and soon became one of the popular races in the United States. Following Scaff’s departure from the HMA and the eventual takeover of the organization by Jim Barahal and Jon Cross, the marathon moved away from its roots as a community-based “people’s race” and—aided by Japanese sponsorship and an early commitment to recruiting elite African runners—developed into one of the world’s largest and most influential marathons and the state of Hawai‘i’s most economically beneficial sporting event. A focused examination on the marathon’s history supports the theory that the evolution of the race was directly influenced by the personalities, values, and motivations of Scaff, Barahal, and other marathon leaders, making an institutional biography the most appropriate medium for telling this story.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
Institutional Biography, Honolulu Marathon, Honolulu Marathon Association
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