Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Volunteers “Key” to Big Island Marathon Success

Kari Sato's WHS Key Club played a major role in the success of BIIM

   Months of preparation all came to a culmination on Sunday with the running of the 13th annual Big Island International Marathon, half-marathon and 5K run/walk.

   Visitors from all over the world came to Hilo to participate in the fitness event and were treated to one of the most scenic and challenging marathon courses around.

   Behind the scenes over 300 volunteers did their part to insure a successful race for more than 850 participants.

   Over 100 volunteers came from the Waiakea High School Key Club under the direction of head advisor, Kari Sato.

   Sato and her ‘Key Clubbers’ managed eight of the 14 aid stations located along the 26.2 mile marathon course, handing out water, cold sponges, sports drinks and gels. 

   The aid stations provided the much needed hydration to the marathon and half marathon runners and Sato has taken on the added responsibility of coordinating the supplies, from ice to trash bags, for all the stations.

   “We have been participating with the marathon since 2004,” Sato said.  “We started with just one aid station and then the following year we did two and this year we’ve done 8 aid stations.”

   Sato and her WHS Key Club crew play an important role in helping, not just with aid stations, but also with assistance in setting up the finish area and again with the clean up and take down of tents after the races are over.

   “I think we keep helping because we know the need for community service is there and because the runners are always so appreciative,” Sato said.  “The students also like to cheer on friends, family members or even teachers that they recognize on the course.”

   “Many of our members get to see the marathon up close where they probably never would because they aren’t runners,” Sato said.  “Another plus for us is that it is different from most of our other projects. This one involves more than just direct manpower (muscle power), and supervisory (directing people to the correct area) but we get to interact with the runners up close and personal.

  One of those Key Club helpers, Nick Jack, probably said it best when talking about all the volunteer work that they do for our community when he said, “it’ll probably put us on Santa’s good list.”

   Along with the Waiakea Key Club and Interact Club other school groups came forward to volunteer in helping which included the Hilo High Key Club under advisor Charlene Masuhara, the Hilo Intermediate Builders with advisor Alson Sakamoto, Waiakea Inter Builders and advisor Barbara Austen, and a group from Keaau High with advisor Donna Wong Yuen.

   Roy Kagawa and the Kiwanis did the entire course marshaling along the 26.2 miles. The HSTA-Retired teachers helped take care of distribution of finisher tee-shirts and medals. Clarita Corpuz’s group of hardworking RSVP members did a variety of task.  Various community groups handled the early morning aid stations during the first 8 miles of the course.

   Jaime Guerpo, coach of the University of Hawaii at Hilo cross-country team, and UHH sports information officer, Kelly Leong, led a group of Vulcan runners in two large trucks to place hundreds of traffic cones and dozens of barricades necessary to insure a safe and runner friendly race.

   Guerpo and his crew needed to be out by 2 am on race day to start their difficult task and they were out again by mid-day to collect everything to return back to both the State and County transportation base yards.

   Many other individuals volunteered to take on a variety of tasks which required them to wake up during the wee hours of the morning so that they could be at their post to make sure everything ran smoothly for our participants.

  The County once again played an instrumental role in the success of the marathon by becoming the title sponsor along with providing the five buses needed to transport the marathon and half marathon runners to the starting line in Pepeekeo beginning at 4:30 in the morning.

   Three buses appeared at the parking lot near Pauahi Street and two were at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel.  All were filled to capacity and had to make double runs to help get over 600 people to the Kulaimano Community Center in time for the 6 am start.

   KTA Super Stores and Big Island Candies continued to be Gold Sponsors for all 13 years as they show their love for community with their generosity.

   There are not enough words or space to properly acknowledge everyone that contributed in some way to this event.

   A race cannot be done without the many individuals and groups working to insure a quality product. As race director I am extremely grateful to everyone that made this race a success.


March 22, 2010 - Posted by | Marathon Running, Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Many thanks for the excellent help and patience of all those at the aid stations and those pointing the way. There was plenty to drink–even by the time I arrived–and I didn’t get lost once.

    Comment by Don Zimbeck | March 23, 2010 | Reply

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