Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Hilo’s Lani Manatay Living Her Dream

Hilo's Lani Manatay

Having a dream and a passion to do something might take years to realize and for Lani Manatay her desire to someday run a marathon came to be three decades later.

“I started running when I was 12 years old and my dream was to someday run a marathon,” Manatay said.

Growing up on Cebu Island in the Philippines Manatay discovered her love for running and dreamed big dreams for a little girl.  “Since I was a child I loved to run and do nothing else,” she said.

“Running is my passion, there is something about it, the freedom I feel and a piece of mind that comes over me,” Manatay said.

Manatay came to Kauai from the Philippines when she was 15 years old and attended Kapaa High School.  During her school days she got involved in Girl Scouts and played a little basketball.

As a young adult she met and married a Big Island radio personality and began to raise a family.

Five children later Manatay felt a little uncomfortable with her body and decided to make a serious commitment to regular physical exercise.

“After the birth of my fifth child I joined a gym and began working out regularly,” she said.  “I go to the gym every day after work, at around 6:30 pm and will work out till 8 pm. “I’ll do running strides, in the gym, and the elliptical machine and I will do hills while increasing the speed.”

Manatay will also lift weights, doing dumbbell curls, so that her upper body will be strong while working the shoulders.

This mother of five also plays softball, volleyball, swim and free dive and has now added tennis, twice a week to her exercise routine.

Manatay starts each morning with a 30 minute run around her neighborhood, before getting ready for work, at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel where she puts in a full day of physical work on her feet.

“On work days I will wake up at 4:30 am and be out of the house around 5:30 to run on the road until 6 or 6:30,” she said.  “Then I need to be at work by 7:50 am.”

Manatay crossing the finish line Kauai Marathon

After work Manatay heads for the gym where her total daily work out time can last three hours.  On weekends she will increase her work out time on the roads and in the gym so that her daily total adds up to four hours.

“I run about 45 miles a week, and I wish I could run more and train more,” Manatay said.  “Six days a week I will run, rain or shine, on the road and then I will add more time after work in the gym.”

Manatay is also learning yoga and has added “home shoulder yoga” to her regimen.

“I prepared myself for the marathon by running in the Volcano 10-miler, three times,” Manatay said.  “I also run 13 miles on my days off and then I will go and run another 10-miles on the machines in the gym.”

And what has become of her childhood dream to run a marathon (26.2-miles)?  Well, in 2009 Manatay not only achieved her dream of becoming a marathon finisher, but this 39 year old went on to complete the Hilo, Kona and Kauai Marathons.

On Sunday Manatay finished another full 26.2-mile run by doing the Honolulu Marathon, for a total of four marathons in one year.

“Training for my marathons is my whole lifetime goal,” she said.  “I am living my childhood dream.”

Manatay success in fulfilling her dream didn’t come easily as she had to preserver in her efforts to balance family and work in order to find the time necessary to do the training.

“Running is the kind of sport you can do alone and on your own time,” she said.  “I love the feeling of running in the mornings before I go to work.  I love to run because it can get me through anything in life.  I do it because it keeps me focused on my life.”

After four marathons, what could be next for Manatay?  “Next year I’d like to do the Maui Marathon,” she said.


December 21, 2009 Posted by | Marathon Running, Profiles, Running on the Big Island | , , , | 2 Comments