Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Hilo’s Cindy Fuke Runs Boston

Cindy Fuke waits to board the bus for the start of the 113th Boston Marathon

Cindy Fuke waits to board the bus for the start of the 113th Boston Marathon

One of the biggest thrills in a runner’s life is to qualify for and then run in the Boston Marathon.

    Each year, around the world, tens of thousands of runners participate in certified marathon courses (26 miles 365 yards) to see if they can reach the Boston standard in order to run in the world’s longest running and most prestigious annual marathon.

    “My qualifying time was 3 hours and 50 minutes and the race that became my most memorable for me was last year’s Kona marathon,” she said.

   Fuke showed interest in sports at an early age, playing basketball and softball in elementary school.  “I was a tomboy growing up, but I stopped playing sports soon after elementary school,” she said.  “I wish I had tried other sports, I think I would have been good.”

   A 1986 graduate of Waiakea High School, Fuke didn’t get back into sports activities until age 20 when she met her husband to be, Gene.

   “Gene took me up to Hilo track and when I first started I couldn’t even make it around the track once.  This is how out of shape I had become over the years,” Fuke said.

   The couple started running together before having two girls, “now we have to take turns running while someone watches our daughters.”

   “I’ve been very fortunate to have a wonderful network of family and friends who help us baby sit.  My aunty Shirley will wake up really early on the weekends so Gene and I can go for long training runs together, or when we have early morning races to do,” Fuke said.

     Fuke, a registered nurse, will run four to five times per week and weight train 10 to 15 minutes four times per week.  “I have a torn ACL, so I try and do exercises for my hamstring to keep my ACL from bothering me and so far it’s working,” she said.

    To compliment her training routine Fuke has recently added yoga on a weekly basis.  “I run a lot and my muscles are very tight, so the yoga helps me keep a little more flexible,” she said.

   A typical week of running for Fuke is between 25 and 35 miles, but when training for a marathon the mileage will increase to 50 miles during certain weeks leading up to the event.

   “My husband is very supportive of my training and on some Sunday mornings I would be gone for four hours doing my long run,” Fuke said.

     “My husband and daughters sacrificed a lot for me and I want to tell them thank you!  They are the main reasons I want to stay healthy,” she said.

      Last June all the hard work paid off for Fuke as she completed the Kona Marathon in 3 hours and 45 minutes to qualify for the Boston race. 

    “Running the Boston Marathon was a bittersweet moment for me,” Fuke said.  “It was something I’ve been looking forward to since last July, unfortunately my mother wasn’t able to see me do it.  See passed away two weeks before I was to leave for Boston,” Fuke said.

    Fuke’s mother died of lung cancer at age 68.  “Although she didn’t exercise she understood how much I loved running, so she and her husband helped pay for my trip,” she said.

    At Boston Fuke managed to ward off the cold 43 degree weather and finish the race in 3:48 which gave her another Boston qualifying time.  “I had such a great time doing Boston that I’d like to come back again despite the cost and next time I’d like to bring my two daughters so that they can experience all that Boston has to offer,” she said.

     “Running Boston was something I never thought would be possible.  Boston is the pinnacle of marathons and being able to say that I did it is wonderful,” she said.

     Fuke had no expectations going into the race and just wanted to enjoy the experience and all the festivities that go along with the Boston magic.

    “The main reason I started running was that I was starting to put on weight and I loved my junk food.  It was just easier to exercise than to give up chocolate,” Fuke said with a grin.

    “My reasons have since changed, I run to stay healthy both physically and mentally, and because I want to be a good role model for my daughters, Ashley and Grace.”

   “Since I’m older now I try to eat better, I still do eat chocolate and chips, but I’ve bought a food processor so I can puree my vegetables and sneak it into other main dishes.  This way the girls will eat it too,” Fuke said.

   “I try to stay away from processed foods, but sometimes it’s hard when we’re in a time crunch.  If we do eat fast foods I try and eat smaller portions and I stay away from juices or soda,” she said.

   “I want to be around to watch my daughters grow up so I will continue to run, eat healthy, have regular checkups, use sun screen and not smoke.  We only have one body so we have a responsibility to take care of it as best as we can,” Fuke said.

   Part of Fuke’s success comes from the large network of support that she gets from family and friends.  “When I completed the Kona Marathon my husband, Gene, was there to congratulate me along with several other friends.”

    “I am also fortunate enough to have many other friends to run and train with and I’d like to say thank you to them as well.”

     And with her success Cindy Fuke has also tacked on the New York and Chicago Marathons to her “marathon to do” list.


May 11, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Marathon Running, Profiles | , , , | 1 Comment