We recently got the opportunity to ask Tyler McCandless 10 questions in honor of our 10th Annual Kauai Marathon & Half Marathon set for September 2, 2018. Tyler is aformer Kauai Full and Half Marathon Champ and most recently the runner-up in the 2017 U.S. Marathon Championships. He’s fast and smiley and lives in Colorado, but loves Kauai. Lets get to it.
So how many times have you run the Kauai Marathon or Half Marathon?
I’ve run the Kauai Marathon 3x and the Kauai Half Marathon 4x.
Wow, ALMOST legacy runner. But not quite. What was the toughest race and why? 
The toughest race was definitely The Kauai Marathon in 2012.  Each year is a little different as small changes in weather affect the difficulty of the race.  That year I had a good lead pretty early on, but it absolutely dumped rain between 8-10 miles.  It actually rained so hard that my “water resistant” watch stopped working.  The humidity was brutal in the hills of Kalaheo and by the end of the race it was very sunny and hot. Although I won the race, I missed the course record I had set the previous year and was absolutely spent at the end.
Ouch. What has been the best part of your affiliation with the Kauai Marathon? 
By far The Kauai Marathon Youth Running Program.  Kid’s events bring a special community aspect to the race and through the support of Kauai Coffee Company and Wilcox Health, we promote health and wellness of kids and get them inspired to run.  From giving talks at schools and running with some of the local high school teams, donating shoes, giving t-shirts, and putting on a giant chicken costume and racing kids – all of it goes to inspiring kids to enjoy the sport of running.
Follow-up: Can you tell us a little more about the TKMYRP? 
After I participated in The Kauai Marathon the first year, I went back to Colorado a better and happier person.  The aloha spirit was real and I felt it was something impactful on my life.  After a couple years, the race staff wanted to start a youth running program, so they gave me the opportunity to put some aloha spirit back into the event.  That year I fundraised through “CharityBet” where people could bet on my time in the half marathon.  We ended raising over $5,000!  Each year we try to grow and develop the program in different ways as shown by last year we gave shoes to the top 5 boys and girls in the half marathon under the age of 19.
Why is your wife so much prettier than you? We don’t understand. 
This is a great question and something I ask my wife all the time.  After our first date I drove home and thought, “well, that was amazing but that girl was so beautiful she’s not going to call me back.”  I ended up coming home to a text message from her saying she wanted to get together again soon…and I proceeded to dance around my living room.  I can share this story because nobody has video of me dancing in the living room…
What’s your favorite Hawaiian word? 
Aloha.  Try to say Aloha out loud and not smile.
What is your secret Kauai Marathon training tip? 
Secret tip is to drink pedialyte the night before the race.  There’s pretty much no way to not be dehydrated by the end of the race, so at least start off the night before by being completely hydrated!
Advice for a Kauai Marathon or half marathon rookie? 
Patience.  Nobody has ever said, “I had a great Kauai Marathon race because I was aggressive early and really pushed the pace on the uphill through the tunnel of trees!”  Instead, runners that hit their goals and expectations have patience early and use downhills later in the race to their benefit.  The year I set the still standing course record in the marathon, I went out conservatively and ended up feeling so strong that I dipped under 15 minutes for the last 3 miles!
How in the heck did you run 2:12 at the California International Marathon & USATF Championship? 
Two main reasons:
1.) A dedication to a long term process with a strong belief in my long term goals.  I always believed I was capable of running 2:10 in the marathon in my career, however, I knew it was going to take years of development.  At the age of 31, I feel I still have several more years of development before time is no longer on my side.  I had great training for over 5 years under my coach Steve Jones, and we continued to have small incremental adjustments to training over the years.  When December 4th came around, I knew I was in the best shape of my life and had fine-tuned my racing skills in the fall.
2.) I finally executed the marathon race I was capable of and wore the right shoes for the race.  In the past, I think I’ve worn racing flats that were too thin and my muscles were trashed by mile 18.  I wore Altra’s that had a little more support than a typical lightweight racing flat and that worked perfect.  I had the strong belief I was capable of running a 2:12 marathon, but I needed to focus on hitting my splits, getting my fluid bottles, staying relaxed, and racing the last 10K.  I executed the plan to a T – hitting 1:06:20 for the first half and a 1:06:08 second half.  What most people don’t know is that there were 2 guys out front by several minutes and I was in a pack of about ten guys by mile 19.5.  At that point, I made a big surge, completely broke up the group, and ended up running 19:40 over the next 4 miles which dropped everyone and caught the two guys, except for eventual winner Tim Ritchie who I could not match his speed over the last 2.5 miles.  It takes years of training and learning from the process to get everything right and deliver on a great race, but when you achieve it, there’s nothing more special.  Having Kristin’s support in the process has made it more fun that I ever thought possible and embracing with her right after finishing it by far my favorite moment of the race.
Thanks for participating Tyler and for your constant support of the event and the TKM Youth Running Program. We’ll see you in September! And aloha…with a smile on our faces.