Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Honolulu’s Harold Chapson holds 41 World Records

This grainy, old black & white photo of Harold Chapson is the only one to be found of this legend

This grainy, old black & white photo of Harold Chapson is the only one to be found of this legend

Honolulu’s Harold Chapson at age 80 broke two age group World Records on his birthday by more than 35 seconds each when he ran a 2 minute 53.5 second 800 meters and a 6:12.2 for the 1500 meters.

   A track star at Colorado A&M in the mid 1920’s Chapson holds 41 age group records in track and field.

   During the 1990’s I witnessed Chapson, at the Aloha State Games, break age group world records in the 100 and 200 meters for a man in his 90’s.

   Born July 11, 1902 Chapson competed in track until age 100 setting world records for his age group.  Chapson died in Honolulu in 2003, but his age group records continue to be the benchmark for all of us.


September 2, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Profiles | , , , | Leave a comment

Top Cop Stays Healthy through Surfing

Police Capt and Surfer, James O'Conner

Police Capt and Surfer, James O'Conner

Sgt. Rollin Rabarra, Lt. Sam Kawamoto and Sgt. Walter Ah Mow of Kona PD

Sgt. Rollin Rabarra, Lt. Sam Kawamoto and Sgt. Walter Ah Mow of Kona PD

     Labor Day weekend is rapidly approaching and with it comes, for most of us, three days of family fun which includes camping and picnics.

    If you’re headed out to do some grocery shopping at any of the islands Safeway Stores be sure to look to the roof tops as you’ll see some of the Big Island’s finest soliciting donations for Special Olympics.

    The “Cop On Top” event will be taking place and one of those cops will be Captain James O’Connor.  “All the participating Hawaii County Police officers in Hilo and Kona have a great time and one important aspect is that we get to interact with the community in a fun and positive way,” he said.

   O’Connor is one heck of an athlete himself, growing up in Lake Worth, Florida, O’Connor was indoctrinated into baseball at an early age by his father.

   “My dad was a fireman and he started playing catch and doing batting practice with me since I was in kindergarten,” O’Connor said.

   “With my dad it was all about baseball.  He was an assistant coach on most, if not all, the teams I played on.”

   O’Connor went on to play baseball and, because of his size, basketball in high school that eventually led to him receiving a basketball scholarship to play for Eckerd College in St. Petersberg, Florida.

   After one year at Eckerd, O’Connor decided to move to Hilo and become a walk on for Bob Wilson and the Vulcans.

  “I came to Hilo in 1987 after playing a year at Eckerd College.  I was surfing since the age of 14 and thought it would be great to go to college in Hawaii and surf too.  I saw a picture of Hapuna Beach on the UH-Hilo brochure and it looked good to me.  I found out later that Hapuna is over 60 miles away,” O’Connor said.

    O’Connor had planned to attend either UH Manoa or a California school after graduating from Hilo with an economics degree.   “My goal was to become an Economics Professor, but while attending Hilo I met and later married my wife (1993). She pretty much refused to leave the Big Island.  So I joined the police department and never looked back,” he said.

   Today O’Connor continues to stay in great physical shape by doing a variety of activities which include running, weight lifting, basketball, stand up paddle boarding, cycling, canoe paddling and surfing.

    O’Connor will leave his home every morning at 4:45 to stretch with Sodie Kabalis.  After that, on mostly Mondays and Thursdays, he will go for a two and a half mile run with retired assistant Police Chief Elroy Osorio, Jr.  Other days he will go for a run with Kabalis or surf, depending on how the waves are.

   “I meet up with Sodie four or five times a week to get in a good stretch and if Honoli’i or Bay Front is breaking, I’ll surf before I head off to work.  On the weekends, I’ll do a five mile run with Sodie, if he is available.”

   Besides surfing with Kabalis, O’Connor will meet up at sunrise with other surfers, Sonny Hong, Adam Kay, Lester Bondallian and Jerry Bell.  “Other current and retired policemen like Mitch Kanehailua, Charlie Chai, and Ben Bolos are regulars.  And, of course, we’re sometimes joined by the Mayor himself, Billy Kenoi.”

      Over his 16 year career with the County Police Department, O’Connor has worked in Waimea, Hilo, Honokaa, Kona and Ka’u.  He has worked his way up the ranks from a patrol officer and sergeant, a detective in Internal Affairs, a lieutenant in Hilo patrol and the department’s Record and ID section, was the tactical commander of the Special Response Team, captain of the Ka’u District and currently is head of the Criminal Intelligence and Internal Affairs units.

   A few years ago O’Connor was selected to represent the department at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia for a rigorous three month academic and physical training.

Cop on Top at all Safeway Stores Labor Day Weekend
Cop on Top at all Safeway Stores Labor Day Weekend

O’Connor also returned to school to complete a degree in Administration of Justice at UHH and serves as a leading role model for the department and the community at large.

  Even with his busy life O’Connor finds the time for his wife and children.  “Jim is a very supportive dad to both of our kids and keeps them on track with their paddling, volleyball, school activities as well as yard work at home,” said wife, Desiree Cruz O’Connor.

  “He is a big, strong, smart guy who is incredibly patient, fun and loving with his children and me,” she said.

   O’Connor’s father died when he was just ten years old, but remains as his biggest hero and inspiration.  “Part of my husband’s drive to be fit and strong comes from his great loss,” Desiree said.

   So, this weekend, if you’re in the neighborhood of a Safeway, be sure to look to the roof and say thank you to the men and women in blue that serve and protect our county.  And if you have a few dollars to spare remember to give to a great cause, Hawaii’s Special Olympics.

   “The Cop on Top event is in its sixth year and we all look forward to participating.  Over the years I really cherish the time I get to spend with the athletes, their families and various community groups that assist in collecting the donations on the ground level.  And of course to spend some time out of the water with fellow surfer Lebert Pascua and his son Jason, who just so happens to be featured on the Special Olympics poster this year,” O’Connor said.

August 31, 2009 Posted by | Events, Health and Fitness, Profiles | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dr. Arakaki continues to give back

Dr. Melanie Arakaki with daughters Jade (7) and Jenna (4)

Dr. Melanie Arakaki with daughters Jade (7) and Jenna (4)

     Everyone knows that regular exercise is a great ticket to living a long, productive life.  Aerobic exercise strengths the heart and helps avoid the many problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

    For many people staying on a regular fitness program can be challenging, especially with a busy career and family demands.

   For family physician, Melanie Arakaki, running has become a time to de-stress with the high demands made of her in her profession.

   “My schedule is pretty hectic, so exercising is one of the few times I have completely to myself.  It is my treat to myself,” Arakaki said.

     Arakaki is married and has two daughters, Jade age 7 and Jenna age 4 and she has made exercise a priority in her life.  “I was in the marching band and managed the soccer and cross-country teams in high school.  I didn’t actually play any sports as I couldn’t even run a mile back then,” she said.

    Arakaki was born and raised in Hilo and graduated from Hilo High in 1989.  “I got started in running in college at UH Manoa mostly to keep my roommate company,” she said.

  Doctor Arakaki has become an accomplished runner having done several EMS 5K’s (3.1-miles) and the Great Aloha Run (8-miles), but her favorite race was when she ran in and finished the Honolulu Marathon (26.2 miles).

   “I ran my first Honolulu Marathon in 2006 (5 hours 16 minutes) mostly because of peer pressure from Dr’s Morita and Nakamura.  Then I got pregnant in 2007 and therefore missed the race that year, only to lose the baby when I was five months along,” Arakaki said.

   When she got the okay from her doctor Arakaki began training for her second marathon which she finished in 2008.  “I ran the 2008 race (4:56) about 20 minutes faster than my first Honolulu Marathon,” she said.

   Current she is training on doing her third Honolulu Marathon, scheduled for December of this year, and she is doing it for a cause.

   “I had debated about running for a cause for a while and it just so happened that a postcard for Team in Training arrived in my mailbox on one of those days that I had been thinking about it.  So I signed up,” Arakaki said.

Dr. Mel & kids at Hilo track
Dr. Mel & kids at Hilo track

Money raised for “Team in Training” goes to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as it provides funds for valuable research which can save lives.

    “The Leukemia and Lymphoma society strikes a cord with me because I have a cousin and an aunt who are lymphoma survivors.  I also lost a dear patient and friend to the disease and recently one of my college friends lost his wife to leukemia, leaving him to raise his two children alone,” she said.

      Arakaki has even set up a web page to help bring awareness to the group.  “Blood-related cancers can affect everyone, our children in particular.  As a parent of two healthy daughters, I can only imagine how frightening it must be to see a child going through rounds of chemotherapy, or how devastating it would be to actually lose a child or love one to these cancers,” her web site explains.

    To train for her marathon Arakaki will do a couple of short runs during the week and once per week she will head to Spencer’s Gym to work on the elliptical or stationary bike.

    “On Sunday’s I run do a long run (8 to 9 miles) with Dr. Morita, Dave Adachi, Dr. Nakamura and Cindy Fuke.  One of the newer members to our group is Dr. Sara Chiu, a child psychiatrist, who will be running her first marathon this December,” Arakaki said.

    Arakaki will increase her Sunday mileage by one to two miles every week until the marathon, capping out at about 22 to 24 miles in November.

   “I try to exercise at least six times a week, even it’s only for 20 to 30 minutes,” she said.

    Arakaki will also try to watch what she eats, but admits to having a sweet tooth.  “I’m working on it, but I love sweets.  Uh, this is another reason why exercise is important, gotta burn off those calories,” she said.

     Come December Arakaki will toe the line at the start of the Honolulu Marathon and will dedicate her race to her Aunty Else Agena and cousin Fay Castillo, who have survived lymphoma.

    “I also want to dedicate my run to the late Doreen Tao, beloved teacher and friend, and the late coach Wade Ishibashi, who lost their hard-fought battles to lymphoma and leukemia, respectively.

   I have also dedicated this marathon to Jennifer Villanueva, wife of our college friend, Mike, who passed away from leukemia a few weeks ago.  For all the courage and strength and lessons of hope and love, running a marathon seems pale in comparison,” Arakaki said.

   To visit Dr. Melanie Arakaki’s, “Team in Training” site go to http://pages.teamintraining.org/hi/honolulu09/marakaki.

August 17, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Marathon Running, Profiles, Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

World’s Hottest Male Athlete

Professional soccer player David Beckham

Professional soccer player David Beckham

Soccer great
Soccer great

With my posting of Kona’s Lokelani McMichael as being one of the sexiest athletes in the world my wife and daughter wanted to know who is listed as the world’s sexiest male athlete.

    Since there were several male athletes to choose from I gave them the distinction of choosing who the world’s sexiest male athlete is, in their opinion.

    The general consensus in my household is:  David Beckham, who is best known for his ability to kick a soccer ball around the field.


Fashionable tatoos
Fashionable tatoos

Beckham is one of Britain’s most iconic athletes whose name is also an elite global advertising brand. He was captain of the English national team from 2000 to 2006, scored in three different FIFA World Cups, and played midfield for clubs in Manchester, England and Madrid, Spain, before agreeing to move to Los Angeles, to play for Los Angeles Galaxy team on a five year contract beginning on July 1, 2007.

    But you make the choice.  If you have an opinion on who should be considered the world’s sexiest male or female athlete please list your choice in the comment section of this blog.


August 14, 2009 Posted by | Editorial, Profiles | , , | Leave a comment

Kona Girl Ranked Sexiest in the World

Lokelani McMichael ranks as one of the sexiest athletes in the world

Lokelani McMichael ranks as one of the sexiest athletes in the world

     Lokelani McMichael bikes, swims and runs as a triathlete. She also models on the side and works as a television host. She has been voted one of ESPN’s sexiest athletes and profiled in FHM, GQ, Shape and Running World magazines. She was also featured in a National Geographic story on the history of the swimsuit.

Ironman Finisher
Ironman Finisher

Born and raised in Kailua-Kona, McMichael has participated in the Ironman World Triathlon competition and in 1995 became the youngest person ever to finish the grueling feat in 15 hours and 21 minutes.

    In 1999 McMichael was crowned Miss Kona Coffee and began a successful career as a model. She has qualified for and completed every Ironman since 1995 and has finished in the women’s top 10 twice.

   In 2007 McMichael was ranked in the top 25 world’s sexiest athletes, coming in at number 16.

August 13, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Profiles | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment