Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Big Islanders Enjoy Honolulu Marathon Experience

Start of the 37th Annual Honolulu Marathon

While most of us were sleeping in on Sunday morning more than two hundred Big Island residents, along with another 24,000 runners from around the world, were up and about prior to 4 a.m., making their way to the starting line of the Honolulu Marathon.

The Honolulu Marathon, now in its 37th year, is the perfect venue for first time marathoners as the organizers allow the finish line to stay open long after most marathons (26.2-mile distance) would close.

More than 60 percent of the participants come from Japan to join in on the week long festivities associated with the Honolulu Marathon and race officials’ estimate that over $100 million is spent in our economy from the runners and their family members.

Merle Costales

First time marathoner, Merle Costales of Hilo and her husband Stan, were up by 2 am to make the trek to Ala Moana Boulevard.

“This was my first time running a marathon (Stan had done it three times),” she said.  “It is so exciting that I had trouble sleeping last night.”

“I only had about two hours of sleep as I was nervous and not sure I could do it,” Merle Costales said.  “I kept getting up and finally at 2 o’clock I decided to stay up and get ready to catch the bus to the starting line.”

The couple caught the 3:15 bus and waited at the start for nearly an hour and a half before beginning their long trek.

“I hit the wall between mile 18 and 20,” Merle Costales said.  “After that it got pretty emotional for me as my ankle was hurting and I really needed to be strong mentally to achieve my goal of getting under six hours.”  Merle finished in 5:56:47 with husband Stan clocking in at 4:26:02.


Esther Kanehailua

Haaheo Elementary School Principal, Esther Kanehailua, was also doing her first marathon and had her sleep disrupted several times with anxious dreams.  “The first dream that woke me was of getting up at 5:30 in the morning and missing the start of the race (Honolulu starts at 5 a.m.),” she said.

“In my next dream I was getting ready to go to the starting line but I couldn’t find my socks.”  Kanehailua had planned on waking at 4 a.m. race day to make her way from the Ala Moana Hotel to the starting line, but found herself up by 3:30 getting ready.

“I was very excited and anxious doing my first marathon and the start of the race was very intimidating,” she said.  “But once we started to go up Diamond Head I began to relax.  I need to give a lot of credit to the Kokua Crew (volunteers) who were very encouraging and kept me motivated during the race.”

Kanehailua exceed her goal of finish in 4 hours and 25 minutes when she crossed the line in 4:19:16.  “I guess I need to raise my goals for next year,” she said.

Hugh Kobayashi of Hilo had some concerns prior to the race as he had been bothered by an Achilles injury.  Despite the discomfort Kobayashi successfully logged his 13th Honolulu Marathon finish and was pleased with his 4:34:57 finish.

“My Achilles didn’t bother me the whole way and I was happy with my time considering that my longest run in preparation was on 1 hour and 50 minutes,” Kobayashi said.

With 13 Honolulu Marathon’s under his belt Kobayashi still felt the excitement and adrenaline associated with doing the race.  “I slept pretty well and got up at 2:30 to start some light stretching, then we walked to the starting line and waited an hour and a half and it was good fun watching all the different characters at the starting line,” he said.

DJ Blinn

Veteran marathon runner, Dennis “DJ” Blinn celebrated the completion of his 100th marathon with his finish in Honolulu.

Blinn, 61 years young, had a little trouble in the final miles of the race, but still felt good about his hundredth finish.  “I blew up around 20 or 22 miles,” Blinn said.  “Both my legs began to cramp up and I needed to take some Tylenol.”

“I was glad Marie (Kuramoto) caught up to me and helped bring me in on the final miles,” Blinn said.  “I really learned something about myself today and each time I do a marathon I learn something new.  Running is really good therapy.”

Marie Kuramoto, 63, a running legend in Hilo, will be undergoing her final chemo treatment for cancer on Tuesday, but didn’t want to miss this year’s Honolulu Marathon.

“I’ve been finding myself tired after doing 10-mile runs, so this one wasn’t easy for me as I relied on the Lord’s help to get me through,” she said.

By finishing the Honolulu Marathon, Kuramoto has now complete 66 marathons, 20 of them in Honolulu, and still finds the distance difficult.  “Even though I’ve done so many I still haven’t perfected the distance and need to rely on my experience to carry me through,” she said.

Blinn and Kuramoto crossed the finish line together in 4:59:05.  “I was glad that I was able to help my good friend, DJ, finish the race.  Things like this do happen,” Kuramoto said.

Lyman Perry

Volcano resident, Lyman Perry was the first Big Island finisher to cross the line in 2:57:23, placing 73rd overall, while Kailua-Kona’s Rani Tanimoto claimed the first Big Island female finisher title in 3:15:37.

In the elite category the Kenyan runners swept the top five overall positions with Patrick Mutuki IV winning the race in 2:12:14.   American Brandon Laan was sixth overall, 2:25:41.

For the women Russia’s Svetlana Zakharov, won her third Honolulu Marathon title in 2:28:34 with defending champion, Japan’s Kiyoko Shimahara, took second in 2:29:53.


December 14, 2009 Posted by | Events, Marathon Running | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment