Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Sally Marrack Running Well in Hawai’i

Sally & Keith Marrack family
Sally & Keith Marrack family

One of the more difficult times to maintain an exercise routine is when you’re raising a family and your children are too young to be left alone.

    I could recall getting up at 4:30 in the morning during the 1980’s to go out and do a five mile run, while my wife stayed in the house to watch our young daughter. 

    Making the time to get out and put in an hour of exercise when there are young children is always difficult to juggle, but for those that are dedicated to maintaining their physical exercise routine they somehow find the time.

    For Sally Marrack juggling her schedule to be sure that she can get in a good workout while insuring that her children are safe and well protected is just part of daily routine.

    “During my weekday workouts I run three times during the week for about five or six miles before the kids are up and while my husband, Keith, is still home,” Marrack said.  That commitment means that Marrack needs to be out the door at 5:30 in the morning in order to get her run in.

   “One day during the week, usually Wednesday’s, I meet Vicki Daniel and Alan Ryan at the Hilo track for some speed work.  The track is a great to work on the leg turnover and to strengthen the fast-twitch muscles which I seem to have few,” she said.

   But don’t let Marrack’s modesty fool you because a few weeks ago she completed her 26th marathon, (a distance of 26.2-miles) by doing the Big Island International in Hilo and was the top Big lsland woman to cross the finish line in 3 hours and 39 minutes.

    On the weekends Marrack can be found doing her long distance runs of 10 to 20 miles with one or more of her running friends.  “I have a core group of women in Hilo that I train with on the weekends.  People like Susan Cordell, Amy McWhinney, Lisa Hadway, Kelly Kozar, Robin Martin and Vicki Daniel help each other stay motivated by training together for marathons and half-marathons,” she said.

    In 2006 Marrack got on a marathon groove and ran 11 marathons during that year which also included a 50-miler called the LeGrizz Ultra in Montana.

     Marrack grew up in Miami, Florida where her mom started giving her swimming lessons soon after she could walk.  “I learned to swim early as my mother was afraid of us falling into a pool or the canal that was in our unfenced backyard,” she said.

    Marrack’s yard in Florida was also on a golf course, so naturally she began to play golf along with soccer at an early age.

    “I started running when I was 12 years old.  I was on the varsity team in seventh grade because it was a small private school.  My sister, Jane, was in the eleventh grade and on the same team,” Marrack said.

   Marrack switched schools for high school and continued to run on the cross-country and track teams, while playing soccer in between both running sports.  “My senior year we won the Florida state cross-country AA meet, a nice way to finish up,” she said.

   Marrack wasn’t considered fast enough to run while attending college at Stanford, but she continued to run on her own and at times with the college running club.  “Running is a part of my life, something I continue whether or not I am part of a team,” she said.

   Marrack and her family moved back to Hilo in 2007 when her husband, Keith, landed a job with Edward Jones.

   “Keith has always been a “ball sport” man but my love for running has spread.  When he was a high school math teacher he coached volleyball and tennis and later he started coaching cross-country. When he began running with his team and he found that he enjoyed it too,” Marrack said.

     The Marrack’s will run together when they opportunity provides itself, as one of them always needs to watch the children.  “When a relative is visiting or someone else is around to watch the kids then we can do a run together,” she said.

    In 2006 the couple ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. together and more recently when Sally was doing the Big Island International Marathon, Keith was running in the half-marathon.

    The Marrack family also eats health as Keith is a vegetarian and is also the primary cook for the family.

    “I try to eat healthy.  Although I don’t consider myself a vegetarian I tend to eat that way most of the time since Keith usually cooks,” she said. 

    “Eating well has become a way of life. Healthy food equates to good fuel for the body which results in better athletic performance and overall well being,” Marrack said.

    The Marrack’s try to eat whole grains, fruit and vegetables, while trying to cut out processed foods.  “I do have a sweet tooth and I love dark chocolate,” she said.  “That’s why winning a gift certificate to Big Island Candies was an incentive for me to finish strong in the Hilo Marathon.”

    Marrack’s announcement of her gratitude for winning the Big Island Candies gift certificate made it to company headquarters and she was rewarded with some additional treats that were dropped off at her workplace.  “Do you think Big Island Candies will sponsor me?” she asked.

    Next up for Marrack is the Kona Marathon held in late June, the Kauai Marathon in September and the Honolulu Marathon in December.

   “I enjoy the training process which culminates by pushing my body on marathon day and watching how it (my body) responds,” she said.


May 4, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Profiles, Running on the Big Island | , , , , | Leave a comment

Keaau Freshmen Leaving Mark in BIIF Track

Randi Estrada - 400 meter dash

Randi Estrada - 400 meter runner

Jesse Huihui - 100 & 200 meter runner

Jesse Huihui - 100 & 200 meter runner

    Keaau freshmen, Randi Estrada and Jesse Huihui, took giant strides in Saturdays, Big Island Interscholastic Federation Junior Varsity Invitational meet held at Kamehameha’s Paiea Stadium.

   Estrada, who ranks as one of the top varsity runners in the 400 meter dash, easily won the event over fellow 9th and 10th graders in a time of 1:01.76.  “I’m hoping to get under 60 seconds by the end of the season,” she said.

   Estrada has the third fastest time in the BIIF and her time is ranked in the top 10 in state varsity competition.

   The young Cougar also won the JV high jump event, clearing a state consideration height of 4 feet 9 inches and helped her JV 4×100 relay team to a fourth place.

   “Running and jumping in middle school helped prepare me for high school track,” Estrada said.  “High school track is just like middle school except a lot more organized.”

   In the final event of the afternoon Estrada was back on the track again, this time helping her varsity 4×400 team relay to victory.

   “My favorite event is the 1600 relay because it’s a team effort and you just don’t run it for yourself,” Estrada said.

   The Keaau girl’s 1600 relay is ranked in the states top 10 and Estrada plays an important role in the team’s success.

   “It’s kind of hard because I don’t want to disappoint anyone when the other three girls are depending on me,” she said.

   Ninth and tenth graders at the JV Invitational were allowed to run in both junior varsity and varsity events during the meet as the BIIF provided a special waiver to accommodate the crossing over during the day’s competition.

   For the boys it was Cougar freshman Jesse Huihui running wild for Keaau.  Huihui won the JV 100 and 200 meter dashes and was first in the triple and high jumps, while placing second in the long jump scoring 48 JV points for the Keaau boys that went onto win the team title.

    Huihui’s success is not a big surprise when you consider that he was the Parks & Recreation track champion in eighth grade for the 100, 200, long jump and was part of the winning 4×100 relay team.

    “The 100 and 200 are my favorite events because its short,” Huihui said.  “I like running at the high school level because I try to keep up with the seniors on this team and it helps me to get faster,” he said.

   Huihui has been running track since the fifth grade and his success today ranks him in the top 20 for state varsity athletes in both the 100 and 200 meter dash.

   “I’d like to be running under 11 seconds for the 100 by next year, my sophomore year,” he said.  “I want to keep practicing hard and just have fun with doing it.”

    Huihui also ran in the varsity 4×100 relay team on Saturday where he ran the second leg and helped his team to a first place finish in that event.  The Cougar team also set a Paiea Stadium Record, clocking in at 43.89 seconds which ranks Keaau within the top 10 of the state’s fastest sprint relay teams.

   In the 800 meter run it was Parker’s Daniel Gregg beating out Honokaa’s talented Chris Mosch in a tight race.

   Gregg, who had never won an event prior to Saturday’s JV Invitational, went out quickly then tried to hold off an experienced Mosch in the closing meters of the race.

   Both Gregg and Mosch are sophomores and they lead a field of 15 participants during the two lap race.  Gregg won in 2:13.28 with Mosch clocking 2:13.42.

   “I’m doing way better this year as I don’t really have the butterflies that I experienced last year,” Gregg said.

   Parker, who carries 10 athletes on their track roster, went from a three day practice week last year to a five day practice week this year under a new coach, according to Gregg.

  “We switched to morning practices because most of us are involved in drama after school,” Gregg said.  “We just built a long jump pit and most mornings we run along the road, but sometimes we go to HPA and practice on their track.”

   Not to be over looked at the JV meet is Honokaa’s Tialana Greenwell who quietly won the 800, 1500 and 3000 meter runs in the grueling heat on Saturday.

   Greenwell, only a sophomore, has etched her name into numerous distance events and has led the BIIF varsity each week in both the 1500 and 3000.  Greenwell, the BIIF cross-country champion, is also highly ranked with the state’s best varsity distance girls.

   Hawaii Prep girls won the JV team scoring title and Coach Pat Lau was all smiles.  “We have a good bunch of young girls for next year,” he said.

   “I have a lot of praise for all of these girls as they are showing improvement each week.”

   When asked who his JV MVP might be Lau quickly pointed to sophomore Pamela Lynn.  “Pamela didn’t win any events today, but she had several second and third place finishes,” Lau said.

    “I really like how her (Lynn) attitude has improved along with her willingness to be coached and be part of this team.  She’s has shown the most improvement and I would give the MVP for today’s meet to her,” he said.

    Coming up this Friday is the BIIF track & field qualifiers at Keaau starting at 2 p.m. with field events and 3 p.m. for running events.

    Then, on Saturday, Keaau will play host to the BIIF track & field championships.  Both Friday’s and Saturday’s meet will have an admission charge to spectators.  Tickets for adults and students without school ID are $5; students with ID $3; senior citizens $2 and children in grades 1 – 8 $1.

May 4, 2009 Posted by | High School Runners, High School Track & Field | , , , , , , | Leave a comment