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

Sally Marrack Running Well in Hawai’i

Sally & Keith Marrack family
Sally & Keith Marrack family

One of the more difficult times to maintain an exercise routine is when you’re raising a family and your children are too young to be left alone.

    I could recall getting up at 4:30 in the morning during the 1980’s to go out and do a five mile run, while my wife stayed in the house to watch our young daughter. 

    Making the time to get out and put in an hour of exercise when there are young children is always difficult to juggle, but for those that are dedicated to maintaining their physical exercise routine they somehow find the time.

    For Sally Marrack juggling her schedule to be sure that she can get in a good workout while insuring that her children are safe and well protected is just part of daily routine.

    “During my weekday workouts I run three times during the week for about five or six miles before the kids are up and while my husband, Keith, is still home,” Marrack said.  That commitment means that Marrack needs to be out the door at 5:30 in the morning in order to get her run in.

   “One day during the week, usually Wednesday’s, I meet Vicki Daniel and Alan Ryan at the Hilo track for some speed work.  The track is a great to work on the leg turnover and to strengthen the fast-twitch muscles which I seem to have few,” she said.

   But don’t let Marrack’s modesty fool you because a few weeks ago she completed her 26th marathon, (a distance of 26.2-miles) by doing the Big Island International in Hilo and was the top Big lsland woman to cross the finish line in 3 hours and 39 minutes.

    On the weekends Marrack can be found doing her long distance runs of 10 to 20 miles with one or more of her running friends.  “I have a core group of women in Hilo that I train with on the weekends.  People like Susan Cordell, Amy McWhinney, Lisa Hadway, Kelly Kozar, Robin Martin and Vicki Daniel help each other stay motivated by training together for marathons and half-marathons,” she said.

    In 2006 Marrack got on a marathon groove and ran 11 marathons during that year which also included a 50-miler called the LeGrizz Ultra in Montana.

     Marrack grew up in Miami, Florida where her mom started giving her swimming lessons soon after she could walk.  “I learned to swim early as my mother was afraid of us falling into a pool or the canal that was in our unfenced backyard,” she said.

    Marrack’s yard in Florida was also on a golf course, so naturally she began to play golf along with soccer at an early age.

    “I started running when I was 12 years old.  I was on the varsity team in seventh grade because it was a small private school.  My sister, Jane, was in the eleventh grade and on the same team,” Marrack said.

   Marrack switched schools for high school and continued to run on the cross-country and track teams, while playing soccer in between both running sports.  “My senior year we won the Florida state cross-country AA meet, a nice way to finish up,” she said.

   Marrack wasn’t considered fast enough to run while attending college at Stanford, but she continued to run on her own and at times with the college running club.  “Running is a part of my life, something I continue whether or not I am part of a team,” she said.

   Marrack and her family moved back to Hilo in 2007 when her husband, Keith, landed a job with Edward Jones.

   “Keith has always been a “ball sport” man but my love for running has spread.  When he was a high school math teacher he coached volleyball and tennis and later he started coaching cross-country. When he began running with his team and he found that he enjoyed it too,” Marrack said.

     The Marrack’s will run together when they opportunity provides itself, as one of them always needs to watch the children.  “When a relative is visiting or someone else is around to watch the kids then we can do a run together,” she said.

    In 2006 the couple ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. together and more recently when Sally was doing the Big Island International Marathon, Keith was running in the half-marathon.

    The Marrack family also eats health as Keith is a vegetarian and is also the primary cook for the family.

    “I try to eat healthy.  Although I don’t consider myself a vegetarian I tend to eat that way most of the time since Keith usually cooks,” she said. 

    “Eating well has become a way of life. Healthy food equates to good fuel for the body which results in better athletic performance and overall well being,” Marrack said.

    The Marrack’s try to eat whole grains, fruit and vegetables, while trying to cut out processed foods.  “I do have a sweet tooth and I love dark chocolate,” she said.  “That’s why winning a gift certificate to Big Island Candies was an incentive for me to finish strong in the Hilo Marathon.”

    Marrack’s announcement of her gratitude for winning the Big Island Candies gift certificate made it to company headquarters and she was rewarded with some additional treats that were dropped off at her workplace.  “Do you think Big Island Candies will sponsor me?” she asked.

    Next up for Marrack is the Kona Marathon held in late June, the Kauai Marathon in September and the Honolulu Marathon in December.

   “I enjoy the training process which culminates by pushing my body on marathon day and watching how it (my body) responds,” she said.

May 4, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Profiles, Running on the Big Island | , , , , | Leave a comment