Allen Wagner has lived, and run, all over the country.
Now, he is home with a chance to do something he never has - win a marathon.
Wagner has a shot to do it in record fashion, as well, when he lines up at 5:30 a.m. Sunday for the 42nd annual Maui Marathon. The race starts at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center in Kahului and finishes at Whaler's Village in Kaanapali.
Wagner's personal record of 2 hours, 17 minutes, 16 seconds left him in 36th place at the U.S. Olympic trials marathon in Houston in January. The Maui Marathon record is 2:19:22, by Eddy Hellebuyck in 1999.
"I have never won a marathon before; the best I have ever done is seventh a couple years ago. To win would mean a lot," said Wagner, a 1998 graduate of Konawaena High School and a three-time NAIA All-American for Dana (Neb.) College, a school that is now defunct.
"I think I will be close (to the Maui Marathon record), but I think that is a pretty tough record given just the conditions," said Wagner, who met Hellebuyck a year after the record-setting run.
Wagner, who returned to live on the Big Island a month ago after his wife got a job in Hilo, is gearing his training toward November's New York City Marathon.
"To have a guy who is under 2:20 who is from Hawaii, that is awesome," said race director Rudy Huber. "That is a great thing, a special thing for this event, especially since the favorite is from Hawaii."
As for the race record - "He has a chance," Huber said. "I would say he will get really close to it. He has been training on the Big Island, so I would say he has a really good chance to probably break it."
Wagner, 31, has also lived in Philadelphia and San Diego since leaving the Big Island after high school. He was 25th in the 2008 Olympic trials marathon, and 17th in the 2009 New York City Marathon.
Huber said the participation numbers are up for the half and full marathon races over last year. The half marathon had 1,250 entrants on Wednesday, up 150 from 2011, and the marathon had more than 1,000, up from about 900 last year.
Living in Hilo without the national-level training partners he has had in other places won't be a problem, Wagner said.
"If you can get involved with some other runners, regardless of their abilities, then you have a little bit more accountability," he said. "Some days you don't want to get up and go, but if you are supposed to meet a friend you think, 'Well, I have to get up because my friend is going to be there.'
"It is a little bit more difficult and the humidity is different for me, but my wife is my main motivator for me. She got me back into distance running after college when I thought my best days were behind me. . . . I have lived and trained in places where people wouldn't think it is a good place to train for distance running."
Race director Rudy Huber said the marathon record could fall to Wagner or a possible Japanese runner who has a PR of 2:15, but had not registered as of Wednesday.
Wagner remembers his coach at Konawaena, Randy Provinzano, told him as his career was beginning.
"He taught me how to be more of a championship runner and how to react to races that mean more, like championship races to be more aggressive," Wagner said. "I expected myself to be around 10th at Olympic trials and I had some really good training, but other life things got in the way. Now I know the training and racing is the easy part."