Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

South Dakota’s Curtis Huffman thanks the City of Hilo for a Great Job hosting marathon

This is what was the greatest thing about this marathon.  It was small and low-key, but the support and work behind it was like that of the Boston Marathon.  Very good job to everyone, especially you Wayne “Big Dog” Joseph.  Thank you for giving me the oppportunity to come and be an elite runner and all the news/press coverage you gave me.  It is kind of nice to be recognized.  I am glad I could live up to the expectations.  Keep up the good work and tell the city of Hilo thank you from South Dakota.


Curtis Huffman

Wessington Springs School


March 31, 2012 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , | 2 Comments

Running a Marathon in 50 states while battling Cancer – Don Wright

Don Wright

The Human Factor profiles survivors who have overcome the odds in confronting life’s obstacles.  People who have overcome injury, illness or other hardships in their lives.  People who have tapped into their inner strength and found resilience that they never realized they possessed.

The following are excerpts from the Human Factor which highlights Don Wright who developed a deep passion for running marathons, later in his life, before being diagnosed with cancer.  His goal is to run and finish 50 marathons in 50 states.

“I’ve made an appointment with an oncologist for you.” “These are words that no one wants to hear from their doctor, ever. It was multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer with a median survival of about five years after diagnosis,” Wright said.

“I had lost weight at Weight Watchers’, then started running, and had just run my first marathon. Myeloma attacks the bones, and a broken bone would stop my running, so I was determined to run the Boston Marathon before I lost the ability to do so. I qualified for Boston and then ran it, then a few more marathons here and there. I had no reasonable expectation of finishing all 50 states,” he said.

“That was eight years ago. I’m now 70 years old and since the diagnosis I have run 60 marathons in 41 different states, including the Seattle Marathon several Sunday’s ago. After some treatments that didn’t stop it, the cancer has been stable for three and a half years on a novel investigational drug called pomalidomide, just a pill that I take once a day. I’m a beneficiary of modern innovation and research” Wright said.

According to Don Wright, he has this incurable cancer, and his most pressing health problem is runners’ knee!

“My doctors are uniformly enthusiastic about the running as a way to strengthen my immune system and my bones, Wright said. “We’re not sure why it works, but keep doing what you’re doing.”

“We can’t know how long this treatment will continue to keep the cancer from growing, but for now, my family and I are relishing the extra time that I have been given, by traveling and doing these marathons together. They are a celebration of life!,” he said

“I stand at the starting line and get choked up, thinking of the people I know who haven’t survived myeloma, and how lucky I am to be alive and able to run a marathon. I can’t wait to start the race. Even on a cold, rainy day in Seattle, I enjoyed every moment. As I run, I sometimes imagine that I’m just floating along, drifting past the scenery. I feel wonderful, and we’re going for all 50 states,” Don Wright said.

Big Dog’s Hero of the month, Mr. Don Wright!

December 7, 2011 Posted by | Marathon Running | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wineglass Marathon & Hilo Marathon Directors Meet

Wineglass director, Mark Landin, exchages t-shirts with Hilo Marathon director

CORNING, NEW YORK – One of the most challenging distances in racing is being able to finish a full marathon, 26.2-miles.

   In 1986 it became the crown jewel in my running accomplishments when I finished my first 26.2-mile race, the Honolulu Marathon.  During the months of preparation I continued to tell myself that this would be my first and the last marathon, as the preparation was taking its toll.

   When I crossed the finish line on that beautiful Honolulu December morning I realized that this marathon was going to be the first of many more to come.

   While the world has seen a fluctuation in the infatuation of marathon running we don’t have to look hard to find a 26.2-mile race somewhere on the planet today.

   According to Marathon Guide writer, John Elliot, there are 800 marathon races in the world in 2010 and half of them are found here in the U.S.A.

   It didn’t take me long while on vacation in upstate New York to bump into the race director of the Wineglass Marathon in Corning.

  Mark Landin is an avid runner himself and has spent years on the road either running in races or in hosting them.

   When I met Landin he was just recovering from putting together a first time race for the City of Corning, an 8K (just short of 5-miles) that coincided with a Glass Festival.

   “First time events are always difficult to coordinate,” Landin said.  “The City wanted to find something to replace the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) which had their final event last year due to financial reason.  That’s why they came up with the idea to host a Glass Festival and have a road race to go along with it.”

Mark Landin

Landin, like most race organizers around the country, is relied upon by the community to use his knowledge and expertise to put on events that attract outside residents and promote tourism.

   Coming up later this year is the 29th Annual Wineglass Marathon which attract close to 800 marathoners each year.  If you’re wondering why the Corning Marathon is called the “Wine Glass” it’s because Corning Ware and Corning Glass come from this part of the country.

   Corning also host the world largest glass museum and is famous worldwide for its elegant work.

   Recently voters in a Runners World survey selected the Wineglass Marathon as the “speediest” 26.2-mile race in the nation.

  “Our cool fall temperatures, and relatively flat course, makes for fast times by most people,” Landin said.  The event is held during the first week in October (Oct. 3, this year) and is considered one of the most spectacular as all the trees leaves are turning colors.

   Landin was the director of the Wineglass Marathon from 1993 to ’97 before moving to Asia.  “My job with Corning, Inc sent me to Seoul, Tokyo and Shanghai from 1998 to 2001,” Landin said.

   Once Landin got back from Asia he was quickly recruited back to organizing the Wineglass event.  It was Landin who redesigned the course to its “speediest” status.  “We had previously had a course that started at the bottom of a long hill, about 4-miles from where we start today,” he said.

   By changing the course Landin was able to get the finish line moved to downtown Corning which made it relatively flat with a slight downhill net elevation drop making for a super fast qualifying course for those interested in trying to make the Boston Marathon.

   “I expect that with the positive articles from Runner’s World over the past few years we will continue to grow as we are considered by many to be a “best kept secret” in terms of a race in this part of the country,” Landin said.

   Hilo’s own, David Hammes, a professor of Economics at the University of Hawaii – Hilo was in Corning this past October and had rave reviews for the fast course and the many amenities that went with finishing the race.

  “I found the mementos quite unique in that finishers were given a half split bottle of champagne, a nice finisher’s shirt with Wineglass motif and a glass finisher’s medal,” Hammes said.  “If I’m ever in the area again I would definitely do this race a second time.”

   “We usually get one or two marathoners from Hawaii each year,” Landin said.  “Most of our runners come from states where the driving time to Corning is five hours or less.”

   Landin is the type of race director that most runners appreciate having, as he is a runner himself.  Runners make the best race directors as they know what other runners like and appreciate about doing their event.  Landin can even brag about having a sub-par 3 hour marathon time under his belt.

   “I’ve been a runner since high school, so I have 35 plus years and an estimated 30,000 plus miles on my legs,” Landin said. 

   If you’re looking to do a fast, well organized 26.2-mile marathon, that is certified and a Boston qualifier, then take a look at making a trip to upstate New York in October.

June 21, 2010 Posted by | Marathon Running | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Perry, Marrick win Wedeman Memorial 5-miler

Sally Marrick and Lyman Perry clown around with host Joe Wedemann following 5-mile event

    “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal,” Albert Pike wrote.

   Pike’s words captured the essence of what volunteers give to their community.  Each year thousands of Big Island residents give of their time, in a variety of ways, to help others.

   Numerous organizations exist simply to lend a helping hand to our community and to those who are less fortunate.

   This past Saturday the Big Island Road Runners held their fourth annual Emily Wedeman Memorial 5-mile run to honor a woman that gave unselfishly to the running community.

   “One of her biggest passions in Hawaii was volunteering at the fun runs and cheering everyone on,” son Joseph Wedemann said.  “She helped out with T-shirts at the Big Island Marathon and everything from registration to bringing baked goods for the fun runs.  I think it made her feel important and needed.”

  Wedemann was on hand Saturday morning and said a few words of appreciation to the BIRR members and participants prior to the race.

  At the 8 am start it was Volcano’s Lyman Perry jumping out to the early lead as he increased the margin with every mile.

   Perry, who is preparing to run in the prestigious Boston Marathon on April 19, was out to keep a sub 6-minute per mile pace with no one around to keep up with him.

   “I was just trying to get in a good workout,” Perry said after the race.  “I wanted to get in a fast series of sub 6-minute miles prior to leaving for Boston on Wednesday.

   Perry accomplished his mission and clocked in with a winning 5-mile time of 29 minutes and 37 seconds.

    “This will be my seventh Boston Marathon and it is a home coming of sorts for me as my family lives in the Boston area,” he said.  “Today I felt good and strong, but it was difficult running alone.”

   Trailing Perry, and in second place, was BIRR club official Steve Pavao who finished in a time of 34:02.  In third was former Waiakea High cross-country star Tchad-Tu Henderson who clocked in at 36:02.


“I wanted to come out and do a race so that I can stay in shape,” Henderson said.  “I like doing a variety of fitness activities and running in races is a good way for me to stay motivated and have fun at the same time.”

   The battle for fourth was between 61-year old D.J. Blinn and estate attorney Paul Booth.  Blinn’s lean at the finish gave him the edge as the senior citizen clocked 37:12 with Booth one second behind.

   For the ladies it was Sally Marrack running with the men and finishing third overall in a fantastic time of 35:44.  Like Perry, Marrick found herself in a league of her own as the well known distance runner finished nearly seven minutes ahead of the women’s runner up.

  Kim Rojo took second for the ladies in 42:35 with Kamehameha wrestling and track & field champion Kaopua Sutton taking third at 47:55.

   Sutton later participated in a high school track meet at Kamehameha where she is one of the state leaders in the discus throw.

   “This is my senior year at Kamehameha and I needed to get in a community run as part of the requirement for graduation,” Sutton said.  “Now I need to get to school for the start of today’s track meet.”

   Marrick, who has finished in the top 10 of women’s competition for the Big Island Marathon for the past two years, enjoyed the chance to come out and run in the Wedeman 5-miler.

   “I ran this race last year and had a good time,” women’s winner Sally Marrick said after the race.  “It’s a nice chance for me to run with a few friends and socialize.”

   “This wasn’t my fastest race as I have been busy with work, so I haven’t trained as hard as I could,” Marrick said.  “But we do what we can at certain times of the year.”

  At the post race ceremonies the Wedemann family provided an assortment of refreshments to all the participants and volunteers.

   “I’m very appreciative to the Big Island Road Runners for keeping this race going in honor of my mother,” Wedemann said.  “I like that it’s a 5-mile run, rather than the traditional 5K (3.1-miles) as this is more challenging and something different.”

   Wedemann made it to the starting line of Saturday’s event after finishing his shift as a Hawaii County Firefighter and ran in the race, finishing in 8th place overall.

   “My running hasn’t been that good as of late as I’ve been nursing a pulled hamstring,” he said.

“But I had a great time coming out this morning as everything turned out perfectly.”

April 12, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Radio Lava 105.3 Personality Stays Fit

Danny Jesser, he writes the songs.

Danny Jesser, he writes the songs.

     Being a pretty ‘ol dog, I enjoy reminiscing about the good old days which includes the music of the 60’s and 70’s.

    So naturally I would gravitate to the oldies channel when listening to the radio while travel back and forth to Hilo.

    Catching an early morning radio show, geared to us who appreciate the legends of music, I listened to three personalities on the air waves who were providing their insight into the lighter parts of everyday life.

   Israel (Gonzales), Eddie O (Ombac) and Uncle Danny (Jesser) provided me with some amusing antidotes which kept me smiling and toe tapping until I reached my destination.  

  The first time I heard Jesser on the radio it was a real surprise as I’ve known him primarily from racing with him and against him over the years.

   Back in the early ‘90’s I had teamed up with Jesser to do the Hilo to Volcano Relay races, a 31-mile trek from Coconut Island in Hilo to Cooper Center in Volcano Village.  Then, in our 40’s, we helped set the Master’s age division record for that race.

   Jesser is originally from Manhattan Beach, California where he was exposed to a wide variety of sports at an early age.

   “I attended lots of Laker, Dodger, L.A. Rams football games and as an adult I went to several L.A. Raider games,” Jesser said.  

   As a youth Jesser tried his hand at baseball, football, basketball, and even ran high school track and cross country.  “My events in track were the 100, 440 and the mile,” he said.

   In college, Long Beach State, Jesser’s focus moved onto music where he used his new found talent to write songs and play music.

   Jesser knew many of the players from the National Hockey League’s L.A. Kings as they were regulars at a night club where he was a professional musician.

   “I moved to Hawaii in ’87 to get away from the crowds and traffic of Los Angeles,” Jesser said.  “I love the ocean, had always surfed, and grew up in beach towns, so naturally I was very drawn to the ocean and nature of Hawaii.”

   Today, at age 57, Jesser continues to write songs professionally and he continues to exercise to stay healthy.

    “I usually run three times a week and swim three times,” he said.  “I try to surf whenever I find the time, probably once per week.”

    Jesser also watches what he eats as he consumes lots of fruits and vegetables and he tries to stay away from fats, fast foods and too much sugar.

   “Running is my exercise of passion.  My favorite race has always been the Volcano Marathon and I’m very sorry to see it gone,” he said.

Lava_Radio logo

Jesser also ran in two Boston Marathons, the pinnacle of all marathon races in the world.  “One of my two Boston Marathons was the Centennial Race and that one was truly special,” Jesser said.

   When his children were little Jesser would push both of them in a jogger during Peaman events in Kailua-Kona and often times would win the race.  At one time he held the record for a 3-mile race while pushing a baby jogger.

    Today Jesser takes great joy in having his two kids beat him in races.  “About a year ago, at the Hapuna and Kings swims, my kids beat me for the first time,” Jesser said.  “Having them beat me was one of the greatest moments of my racing career.   I’ve never been happier or prouder.”

    Jesser continues his passions in life, staying active as a radio personality (Lava 105.3 FM), writing and playing music and exercising as he runs, swims and surfs. 

   “I exercise because I love it as it keeps me healthy and happy,” he said.

   And for those just starting out in regular, physical exercise, Jesser offers the following advice:

“Take it slow until it becomes as big, important and enjoyable part of your day.  Just make it FUN!”

October 5, 2009 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , | 1 Comment