Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Marathon Maniac, Choy Bacor, Test his Limits

Marathon Maniac Choy Bacor

   I’ve often wondered why some people look for challenges that are extremely difficult, both physically and mentally.

   Running a marathon (26.2-miles) is changeling in itself, but once you’ve conquered that magical distance why go beyond?

   For Hilo’s Choy Bacor running and finishing a marathon in 3 hours and 20 minutes just wasn’t enough as this 30 year old wanted something more.

   Several months ago Bacor learned about a trail run called the Tantalus Trek 50K (31-miles) in Honolulu and decided to give it a try.  As anyone will attest running on trails can be difficult as unsuspecting tree roots and rocks could lead to serious injury.

   “I learned about the Tantalus race about a month prior to the start,” Bacor said.  “It was a very difficult trail race as half the time I was forced to hike.  During the times I was running I had to keep my eyes focused on the trail and I never got to enjoy the views.”

   To compound the problems associated with running the trails of Tantalus Bacor failed to bring the proper gear which added to the difficulty in his trying to finish the race.

  “The beginning of the race is run in the dark and I came unprepared and was forced to keep up with a group of runners that had headlamps and flashlights,” he said.  “I also left my hydration pack for the race in my car in Hilo.”

   Bacor ran the race holding onto one water bottle and needed the assistance of some of the more experienced runners that he had met on the trails.

   “I train on the roads in Hilo and getting to run the trail was a welcome change,” Bacor said.  “The good part about running on trails is that it is more forgiving on the human body.  I loved the challenge that the course presented to me and the confidence I derived from knowing I can run a challenging trail run and survive.”

  Bacor did survive, but only after turning his ankle numerous times, accumulating a number of scratches from the bamboo branches and other trees lining the trails and after taking a hard fall on a slippery rock that bruised his tail bone.

   After 6 hours 19 minutes and 40 seconds Bacor had finished his first trail run and logged in an extremely difficult 31 miles.

   Most people might think that this was the end of the story for Choy Bacor as he would now come back to Hilo to nurse his bruised and tired body. 

   But instead of flying back to Hilo following the Tantalus Trek Run Bacor was on a flight to Kauai where he would, the very next day, run in the Kauai Marathon (26.2-miles).

Choy Bacor

“After doing Tantalus the day before the Kauai Marathon I knew it Kauai going to be much more of a burden on me physically,” Bacor said.  “I heard about how gorgeous the course was on Kauai and I wanted to take it all in.  It was also nice to see so many people from Hilo running it.”

   Bacor decided that he would run and walk the Kauai Marathon and not push the pace in order to allow his body to recover from the day before.

   “I wasn’t in any major pain,” he said.  “My butt hurt a little, but it disappeared once I started running.  My ankles were stiff, but that also subsided once I began to move.  What helped was I didn’t run Tantalus with any speed so my legs were fresh.”

  Bacor finished the Kauai event in 4:48:50 which is quite an accomplishment when you consider that he logged in more than 56 miles over the two day weekend.

  “After the weekend my body wasn’t in any major discomfort,” Bacor said.  “Keeping a consistent active lifestyle enabled me to handle the physical demands of both races.”

  Of course Bacor was in great shape prior to taking on his impressive weekend of races.  Lifting weight, swimming, paddling for Kamehameha Canoe Club and maintaining a 50 mile per week running routine all contributed to his being able to run two extreme distances without any major injuries.

  “Running both races didn’t seem that big of a deal to me at the time,” Bacor said. 

  Two weeks after his strenuous weekend Bacor was out racing again, this time tackling the Maui Marathon.

   “It isn’t a big deal to me because at my age and being a runner I’m supposed to be able to do things like this,” Bacor said of his three distance races.  “I hear stories all the time of people running 100 marathons and finishing 100-mile races and some of these runners are in their 60’s and 70’s.

   “Running means so much to me, it is the ultimate stress reliever,” Bacor said.  “When going for runs by myself I’m able to have moments of clarity and insight.  Stress seems to just brush off my shoulders and I’m able to just focus on the run.  I guess it’s one of those moments that only a distance runner knows.”

   Bacor now has his sights set on making a qualifying time for the 2011 Boston Marathon.

   “I need to run at sub 3 hour 11 minute marathon to qualify for Boston for my age group,” Bacor said.

   With the heart, persistence and discipline that Choy Bacor exhibits I’m sure that he’ll reach his goal of qualifying for and running in his first Boston Marathon.

   Bacor serves as a good example of someone who has focus in maximizing his athletic potential, but he is the exception, not the norm in physical and mental strength.

   Each of us should be striving to do what we can in providing the necessary exercise that our bodies require, which means to get out there and get physically active each day for 30 minutes or more.

   Swim, bike, jog or walk – whatever it takes to get your heart rate up for a prolonged period of time to insure good health for a lifetime.


February 1, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , | 1 Comment