Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Salute to Veterans 5K in Hilo – Vets honored

Marlene Hapai submitted the following:   The Hilo rains paused Saturday morning, June 18th with welcome sunshine lighting the way for over a hundred participants  of the first annual “A Salute  to Our Veterans” Hilo Bay 5K.  Planned in conjunction with the VFW State Convention held at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel hosted by Pahoa’s VFW Post 3830, it launched the post’s “Growing and Showing” campaign to raise $250,000 by 2013 to expand its heavily used facilities and services.   Major sponsors of this year’s event were Aiona Cars, Business Services Hawaii, Creative Arts, Big Island Toyota, Hilo Mazda Subaru, DeLuz Chevrolet, Kona Mazda Hyundai, Kamaaina Nissan, Kamaaina Motors, Orchid Isle Auto Center and Hapai Enterprises.  Café 100 provided gift certificates for first place winners.  Big Island Road Runners also contributed their expertise, advice, a number of runners and were instrumental for run logistics.  Russ Roberts, local DJ and newscaster of Pacific Radio Group, also a veteran, served as MC for the event.  A major group of volunteers was the General Lyman Field Squadron Civil Air Patrol cadets.

This year’s Most Patriotically Dressed awards went to Post Commander George Kelly and Mabel De Silva.  Commander Kelly also garnered the Best Decorated Wheelchair award  and topped his evening off with the Governor proclaiming June 18, 2011 as George Kelly Day commending his outstanding leadership and service as Commander of Post 3830 for the past three years.  Legs for Liberty of Hawaiian Shores in Pahoa won the Largest Participating Group award with fourteen of their water aerobics class members moving their legs across land instead of below water for the day.  Participants came from as far away as Guam and the United Kingdom and ranged in age from 2 to 84 with Dr. Bobby Layman receiving the Most Senior Male Participant and Fastest Male in the Over 80 age group.   Barbara Ferraro captured the Most Senior Female award and jokingly announced,  “I’ll be back next year and maybe win this again.”

This year’s event included a Walk course that looped five times around Liliuokalani Gardens, allowing walkers, joggers and wheelchairs to complete the course and a Run course around the gardens, through Banyan Drive, toward Keaukaha and back to the gardens for a more diverse, scenic run.

“We have learned much this year” stated Marlene Hapai, event coordinator.  “The two courses is a good idea.   We ended up with almost an even split of runners to walkers, with 140 registered participants.  As this was our first time doing a run/walk event, this was a number we could handle.  Our hope is to increase the number of participants and sponsors each year and start much earlier in getting the word out.  Being new members of the post and finding out about June’s convention a the end of last year, it was not until March of this year that my husband Archie and I cemented the idea of a simultaneous fund raising campaign.  Having no advertising money, we reached out to the media for their support of our veterans to get the word out and the response was phenomenal with the Hawaii Tribune Herald writing two articles and announcing various stages of the event in its Community Calendar and Pacific Radio Group,  Mahalo Broadcasting and New West Broadcasting Corporation, which carry all our local radio stations, providing pubic service announcements and interviewing our Commander; Quartermaster, Vernon Gawith and myself.  We could not have done it without them, our sponsors, volunteers, and the many participants who chose to donate to the cause financially, as well as greet the sunrise over Hilo Bay that morning.”

Times for participants completing the event are listed below.  The Fastest Overall Male completing the race was Justin Pang and Fastest Overall Female, Bernice Hwang.  Each received cash awards.   Awards were also given for 1st through 3rd place winners in each age group.


June 30, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Big Island International Marathon Early Bird Nov 1st

The 14th Annual Big Island International Marathon scheduled for March 20, 2011 is many months away, but the deadline to save 50 percent off anyone of their three races is only days away.

Each year the marathon (26.2 miles), half marathon (13.1 miles) and 5K (3.1 miles) afford participants half off the entry fee by signing up early.

To receive the discount participants must mail in their entries and have it postmarked no later than Nov 1st, according to BIIM treasurer David Hammes.

Hammes, also known as the “tortoise” because of his high level of perseverance and lack of speed finishing, is one of only four people who have done the 13 previous full marathon races.

“I may be slow, but I finish whatever I start,” Hammes said.

Along with Hammes are Hilo’s D.J. Blinn and Kona’s Ken “Cowman” Shirk along with the only woman, Hilo’s Marie Kuramoto, who have completed all the previous BIIM races.

Kuramoto, a cancer survivor and in her mid 60’s, has for a number of years, been donating the entry fees for two high school kids in need. 


“Hilo is my favorite marathon course in the state,” Kuramoto said.  “My providing entry fee for two kids each year is just my way of giving back to the sport that I love.”

The original Hilo Marathon went from 1975 to 1987 before disappearing until 1997 when businessmen Roland Higashi of Creative Arts and George Miyashiro of Jack’s Tours recruited the help of Karl Kunz and the Big Dog to design and host another 26.2 mile race for East Hawaii.

Kunz was partially responsible for designing the new marathon course which takes runners and walkers from Pepeekeo, along the 4 mile scenic drive, and follows along Hilo Bayfront until heading out to the National Guard Armory, out to Keaukaha and Kings Landing before returning to Bayfront.

Instrumental in measuring and certifying the course is HELCO engineer, Curt Beck, who meticulously measured every inch in order to have the course certified as a Boston Marathon qualifier.

Three years ago BIIM added a half marathon and it was Beck who again went out and measured the course to have the half certified as well.

“The half marathon has turned out to be our most popular race which has sold out in each of the previous two years,” Beck said.

Adding to the morning of events is a 3.1 mile walk or run which takes participants along Hilo Bay out to the Ice Ponds and back to Bayfront.

The full marathon entry cost is $80, the half is $60 and the 5K is $25, but anyone who signs up between now and Nov 1st that mails in their entries can take 50 percent off that entry fee.

Of course nothing can ever be accomplished without the hundreds of volunteers that continue to support the BIIM event.

Since 2004 Waiakea’s Kari Sato has been providing the ‘student’ power that number just a few Key Clubbers in the early years to over a hundred in recent times.

Key Club

The Waiakea Key Club managed eight of the fourteen aid station during the 2010 race and have once again agreed to provide support.

Other school groups that have volunteered to help along with the Waiakea Key Club and Interact Club are Hilo High Key Club, Hilo Intermediate Builders and the Waiakea Intermediate Builders.

”We keep helping because we know the need for community service is there and because the runners are always so appreciative,” Sato said. 

Sato also enjoys having her members get up close to seeing a marathon and the effort put forth in those that participate.

“Many in our group will probably never see a marathon because they are not runners,” she said.  “This is a good project for us because it is different from most of our other projects.  This one involves more than just direct manpower and supervisory assistance as we get to interact with the running participants, up-close and personal.”

More than 900 runners are expected in the March 20, 2011 race with over 300 people behind the scenes making it possible to put on a quality event.

If you’d like to take part in this event remember, you can save half off the price of admission by filling out your entry application now and mailing it in prior to the Nov. 1st deadline.

Last year the full marathon and half marathon sold out three weeks prior to the race.


Coming up on Thursday, Nov 11, is Big Dog’s Veterans Day 5K run/walk starting at 7:30 am from the parking area of Coconut Island in Hilo.

Big Dog Productions will commemorate Veteran’s Day and honor those that served our country with a fitness walk or run with the price of admission being a canned good to be donated to the Hawaii Island Food Basket.

According to Food Basket Director, Alton Nosaka, the Food Basket is in need of fruit and vegetable canned goods.

Post race refreshments will be provided by Jerry Chang and Vidration sports drinks provided by Keith Aoki of Anheuser-Busch, while supplies last.

For more information on the Vet Day event call 969-7400.

And someday should you happen to see a happy veteran jogging through the streets of East Hawaii remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

October 25, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment