Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

EMS Hilo sets record number of participants in 2012

Mosch wins EMS 5K, Jaclynn Joyce photo

A record number, 934 people, laced up their sneakers early Sunday morning to participate in one of several races sponsored by the Hawaii Island Emergency Medical Services.

“I can’t even believe this many people would come out to show their support for our Fire Fighters,” an elated Jesse Ebersole said of the turnout.

Ebersole, a firefighter himself who has been involved with directing the race for all 12 years, has seen the event grow by leaps and bounds.

“I couldn’t possible put this event together without the great support of our volunteers,” Ebersole said

For the serious at heart there was a 3.1 mile run while casual walkers got to do a fitness 2 mile walk.  Both events started and finished at Liliuokalani Gardens and traversed over the Suisan Bridge following the magnificent Hilo Bay coast line before heading back.

   Much of proceeds raised from this year’s race will go to benefit the Greg Cameron Scholarship Fund.

   “Greg was a Fire Medical Specialist who recently passed away after battling cancer,” Ebersole said.  “He was an inspiration to those who knew him and this scholarship will focus on creating professional development opportunities for Hawaii Fire Department personnel.

   According to Ebersole a portion of the money raised with also go to Hospice of Hawaii Island.

   “We have raised over $70,000 for various individuals and organizations since hosting the EMS races,” Ebersole said.

   Prior to the event the Fire Department showcased two of its Emergency helicopters as both landed in the center of Liliuokalani Gardens while several Fire Trucks lined the entrance to the Gardens to begin the race.

  During the race it was a familiar face jumping out to an early lead.  Two time defending Big Island Interscholastic Federation, high school cross country champion, Chris Mosch lead from start to finish.

Mosch won his BIIF titles in 2010 & 2011 while attending Honokaa and is now attending the University of Oregon where he runs for a Club Team.

“I grabbed an early lead in the first 100 yards and was pretty much running by myself after that,” he said. 

Finishing in a time of 17 minutes and 30 seconds the former Dragon was never seriously challenged.

“It was fun running in the lead as I received lots of cheering on the way back,” he said of the out and back 3.1 mile course.  “It was also great weather for running as there was a steady drizzle and it remained overcast throughout.”

Mosch was chased by Hiromasa Veno who placed second in 17:51.  Followed by Nick Muragin, 18:11; Lyman Perry, 18:18; and Hilo High star Stephen Hunter, 5th overall, in 18:30.

Molly Schmelzle was the first woman to cross the finish line in 19:42, good enough for 14th overall, but couldn’t be located after the race for this interview.

Second woman was another prep star from Hilo High School in Carmen Garson-Shumway who clocked 21:34 and finished 27 overall.  Viking teammate Mehana Sabado-Halpern followed as the third woman, 29th place overall.

A Special Public Service Division award to recognize the top male and top female in public community service has been a tradition at the EMS 5K runs and two very familiar people, both from the same department, was again in the winner’s circle.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources crowned the top male and female from the same office and has bragging rights to the fastest 5K runners.

Lisa Hadway has won the Public Safety Division six times and Lyman Perry won his fourth.

“This isn’t my fastest time, 22:25, but I am getting older,” Hadway said of recently turning 40.

“I’m staying in pretty steady shape and 40 has been good to me.”

Hadway’s husband, Matthias Kusch a firefighter, finished just behind his wife in 26:11.  Second overall in the Public Safety Division was another firefighter, Kainoa Willey in 22:14.

“This was a great turnout to honor our brother, Greg Cameron.” Ebersole said.  “He helped us through the process, staying strong and enjoying life.  He will surely be missed.”

Related Links: https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/complete-results-from-hilo-ems-5k-run-held-729-2012/            https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2012/07/29/random-photos-of-hilos-ems-runwalk/


August 1, 2012 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Eric Kuwana learning love of running through wife Cindy

Cindy & Eric Kuwana

One of the many things about being married is that the love that you have for each other can grow into friendship and blossom into respect and admiration.

For Eric and Cindy Kuwana their six year marriage has produced many exercise related benefits.

Cindy, a long time distance runner, provides the role model that Eric need to get off the coach and onto the roads.

Recently Eric completed his first marathon (26.2 miles) and credits his wife as being his primary motivation.

“I never played any sports in High School and I was never really motivated to do much of anything until I saw my wife finish her first marathon,” Eric Kuwana said.

Kuwana grew up in Hilo and was a 1992 Viking graduate and he now works as the sales manager at S. Tokunaga Store.

“I run the largest shoreline fishing tournament in the state,” Kuwana said.  “The inception of this tournament was in 2004 and since has grown to over 500 participants.”

Kuwana also gives much of the credit for the fishing tournament success to his wife.

“Every June, with the help of my wife, we’ve been putting on this fishing tournament,” he said. 

And how did Eric get involved with his first marathon experience, you might ask?

“My wife signed me up to do the Honolulu Marathon in December 2011 and I did it to prove to myself that I could complete a marathon,” Kuwana said. “It was never a goal of mine to do a marathon, but with my wife’s urging I did it with a finishing time of 5:43:49.”

Eric’s wife did her first marathon in December 2010, six months after being in a serious car accident that set her training schedule back. 

“I was the driver in that auto accident that my wife was in and I still have occasional aches and pains since we were t-boned,” Kuwana said.

Part of that glowing admiration that Kuwana has for his wife was in seeing her cross that finish line in 8 hours and 3 minutes two years ago.

Better trained and better prepared Cindy was able to complete the 2011 marathon nearly an hour faster, finishing in 7:15.

“When my wife took me on my first training run, which was less than 2 miles, I thought it was hell,” Kuwana said.  “I’ve come a long way since starting training this past February.”

Through his wife’s guidance Kuwana has made great strides in his health and fitness needs.

“I have taken up stand up paddle boarding and will also accompany my wife to Kiwi Fitness for Turbo kick class,” Kuwana said.  “I also took up R.I.P.P.E.D. exercise classes for better fitness,” he said.

R.I.P.P.E.D. stands for Resistance, Intervals, Power, Ply metrics, Endurance and Diet and Kuwana swears by it high intensity fitness level.

“I attend the class every Thursday at Kiwi Fitness and that helps my wife and I cross train,” Kuwana said.  “Most people think that 5 or 8 pound weights are light but, I encourage all to attend this class as you will be humbled, like I was, 10 minutes into the class.”

Running is also an important feature to his fitness routine, but Kuwana is smart enough to know that rest days are also important in staying injury free by taking Friday’s and Saturday’s as his days off.

“Following the 2011 marathon Cindy and I took time off and went on a planned trip to Las Vegas,” Kuwana said.  “We will start back up with our running at the end of January, running anywhere from 8 to 15 miles a week, which is plenty enough.”

Kuwana has added a series of shorter races, 5K’s (3.1 miles) to his annual routine by doing the Hilo 5K and EMS 5K, but his favorite distance has become the half marathon (13.1 miles) as it is not as strenuous to prepare for as the marathon.

“The marathon training schedule is very time consuming and we need to do it rain or shine,” he said.  “Not to mention that we have to wake up early and run every Sunday.”

Kuwana admits to having no regular diet, except when he is preparing for a marathon event.

“I will cut down on meat consumption as we get closer to the marathon and then eat more carbs, pastas, the week before the marathon,” he said.

Today Kuwana has set high standards for future exercise related goals.

“For someone who never exercised or participated in any sports growing up, I’d like to continue on this health quest in support of my wife,” he said.  “Cindy was diagnosed with high blood pressure in April 2010 and that’s her driving force of why she exercises.”

Now Eric supports his wife in her effort to lower her medication.

“Cindy hasn’t had to increase her dose in medication and helping her maintain that is enough of a goal for my future,” he said. “I still plan to continue running and would like to Stand Up Paddle more as time permits.”

Eric and Cindy Kuwana are in a great relationship where each helps the other with important things in their lives.

Friendship and respect play an important role in any relationship and the Kuwana’s are well on their way to accomplishing both.

And someday should you see a happily married retired teacher come jogging through the streets of Hilo remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

February 6, 2012 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , | Leave a comment

Big Island Running Pioneer, Robert Hillier

Bob Hillier

It’s been more than 20 years since I moved from Honolulu to teach, raise my family and become part of the running community here on the Big Island.

   During the 1980’s the Big Island running scene was anchored by several pioneers who brought with them the enthusiasm and commitment to start, maintain and bring to full bloom the competitive spirit of our sport.

   One such pioneer that deserves much credit is Robert Hillier who came to Hawaii in 1968 to teach English at Hilo High School after serving two years in the Peace Corps in the Philippines.

   “I was recruited by the Hawaii Department of Education who wanted to bring into the school system returning Peace Corp volunteers,” Hillier said.  Other former Peace Corps Volunteer who taught school and who enjoyed running included Donald Romero, Patricia Richardson and Rob Banashek.

    Hillier was born and raised in Laramie, Wyoming and ran track and cross country in high school.  “I ran cross country at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, but stopped running altogether from 1966 to ’74,” he said. 

   “In the 1960’s six miles was considered a long training run.  Running shoes were lightweight canvas shoes with no cushioning or support and the Boston Marathon was open to any male who wanted to enter, but 26 miles seemed like an impossible distance,” Hillier said.

   The opportunity to coach the Hilo High girls cross country team, newly formed in 1974 also encouraged Hillier to resume running.

   By 1979 Hillier had begun to establish himself as a regular Big Island harrier and during the 1980’s could be found entered in almost every local race.

  “My training by the ‘80s exceeded 40 miles per week as I raced almost every month doing 25 marathons and a few shorter ultra-marathons,” Hillier said.

   By 1985 Hillier was at the top of his running performance with a personal best 2 hours 38 minutes and 8 seconds for the 1985 Honolulu Marathon. 

  “I ran marathons in Hilo, Volcano, Kona, Maui, Boston, San Francisco and Cheyenne and had two marathon victories,” he said.  Hillier won the 1985 Kona Marathon and the 1986 Big Island Marathon while he coached and trained with the lady Viking harrier squads.

   Hillier also helped to promote running through the Big Island Road Runners as he and Alvin Wakayama co-directed the Saddle Road Relay and Ultra-Marathon for four years.  Hillier also co-directed the Pepsi Challenge 10K with Calvin Shindo in Hilo for two years and was instrumental as a pioneer in helping to continue the running craze that was sweeping the country during that time period.

   When I arrived in Hilo during the 80’s Robert Hillier’s name was well known within the local running community as the Viking teach/coach had established himself as a solid competitive runner and a contributing member of the BIRR.

   “Running is the most basic of athletic activities,” Hillier said.  “All you have to do is put on your shoes and go.  It promotes aerobic fitness more readily than almost any sport.  Running can be social when you run with others, or it can be meditative when you run alone on trails.”

   One of the most challenging activities that Hillier has ever done is when he decided to hike the Long’s Peak which is a 16 mile round trip to the summit with an elevation gain of almost 5,000 feet.

    “The same breathing techniques that helped my marathon pacing also got me to the top of the mountain and back down,” Hillier said.

   Today, at age 66, Hillier continues to work full time for the DOE as the State Coordinator for the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP).

   Although not as competitive as he once was Hillier continues to run an occasional fund-raiser event and was last seen in the EMS 5K runs hosted by the County’s Fire Department this past May.

   “Now I run mostly for health, but I try to participate each year in an occasional fund-raiser,” he said.  “With age and an injury I decreased my mileage to between 10 and 25 miles per week and sometimes the running turns out to be walking.”

   Hillier doesn’t let age and a nagging injury deter his drive to stay healthy and fit and has incorporated variety into his fitness plans.

   “I follow no special diet, but try to include healthy foods in my meals,” he said.  “I like a full range of foods with lean protein, salads, fruits and especially wholegrain carbohydrates.  I also cross train a bit, visiting Spencer’s Health and Fitness on weekends and I include light weights and stretching into my regular routine.”

   Robert Hillier exemplifies the essence of what we strive for in health and fitness that of achieving balance in our lives. 

   “Running is a great way of exploring cities,” he said.  “Exercise promotes health and contributes to balance in life.  Usually a runner can use pacing and mind power to get past “the wall” but there are also times when a runner needs to slow to a walk and if injured to drop out.”

   And what’s in store for this super healthy senior citizen?  “My exercise goals are to keep active and take pleasure in exercise,” Hillier said.  “My health goals are to remain active and productive.”

August 2, 2010 Posted by | Profiles, Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment