Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Distance Runners are Special People

     Recently I attended the athletic awards ceremony for Waiakea High School and was impressed with the high number of scholar athletes (those that maintained a 3.3 grade point average or higher) that participate in sports.

   One example was the Warrior cross-country team which awarded varsity letters to 46 boys, 31 of them scholar athletes, and 17 girls, with 13 scholar athletes, an impressive number by any standard.

   Many of those young harriers were also student body leaders, involved in community service clubs and a couple was serving as their schools valedictorians.

   Distance running is one of the oldest sports known to humans, if not the oldest.  It requires internal motivation and perseverance and can serve as a marker for how much time and effort were devoted to this single pursuit.

  The only community based, non-profit organization, which recognizes the efforts of the high school runner through a cash grant scholarship is the Big Island Road Runners.

   Four years ago the BIRR started a scholarship program for graduating public high school seniors that gave a modest $500 to a boy and $500 to a girl.  The BIRR has since doubled their scholarship to $1000 each and has, for the past three years, given an additional $500 to a private school runner. 

    This year’s public school awards went to two valedictorians in Keaau’s Amy Eriksson and Waiakea’s Bryce Harada, with the private school partial scholarship award going to Kamehameha’s Kaitlyn Yamamoto.

    Eriksson and Harada concluded their high school careers with cumulative grade point average of 4.1 and Yamamoto finished with a 3.9 making them exceptional scholar athletes who performed well in running and in the classroom.

   Eriksson is headed to Bingham Young University-Hawaii, Harada to University of Hawaii-Hilo and Yamamoto to UH-Manoa.

   On Sunday the trio was on hand at the BIRR Scholarship 5K run/walk to take part in the morning run followed by a brief award ceremony to receive their scholarship checks.

   During the race it was newcomer Donald Truesdell getting out to a quick start with Hilo’s Johan Dana and Akira Tanaka giving case.

   Dana managed to stay within a stride behind Truesdell before the youngster from Chico State began to separate himself.

5K Runner-Up Johan Dana cross finish line

5K Runner-Up Johan Dana cross finish line

    Truesdell, who finished his freshmen year at Chico State where he runs cross-country, won in 17 minutes flat with Dana clocking in at 17:36 and Tanaka, finished at 17:58.

   “I was hoping to run under 17 minutes today,” Truesdell said after the race, “but I’m satisfied with the effort.  I took two weeks off distance running to concentrate on doing track work, and I’ll be staying on the island for a month before heading back to California.”

   Truesdell is the nephew of Kamehameha cross-country coach, Joel Truesdell, as both were on hand to see Yamamoto receive her scholarship award from the BIRR.

   Following in fourth place was Amlsom Teklai, 18:01, with Christian Liberty’s Justin Pang, 19:20; Waiakea’s Bryce Harada, 19:39, Keaau’s Shannon While, 20:19; Alex Hatzis, 21:02, Steve Pavao, 21:04, Jeremy Buttz, 21:43; Adam Busek, 22:24 and Dano Banks, 22:49, rounded out the top men.

   For the women it was Cindy Fuke, a nurse at Hilo Hospital, leading the way to win in 23 minutes and 13 seconds.

   “This was a perfect day for running,” Fuke said after the race.  “I’m hoping that I can someday run under 22 minutes for a 5K as it is something that I’ve set as a goal.”

   Fuke used the 5K run as part of her morning workout and later hit the road to do another nine miles.  “Sunday’s are always my long runs and I was hoping to get 12 to 13 miles in this morning,” she said.

   Following Fuke for the women were Kaitlyn Yamamoto, 23:55; Amy Eriksson, 24:57; Esther Kanehailua, 24:57;   Rae Mori, 26:45;  Jill Macki, 27:47; Betty Maeua, 33:01; Jill Osborn, 33:25; and Kekai Wong-Yuen in 37:02 wrapped up the top women for the day.

  Following the event the BIRR held a scholarship ceremony to honor Harada, Eriksson and Yamamoto. 

   “Even though I may not be leaving the BIIF (Big Island Interscholastic Federation) with many championships and titles, I consider myself a dedicated runner an am honored that this association has found me to be a worthy recipient of your scholarship.  In return for this honor, I will stay worthy and commit myself to running throughout my life,” Eriksson said.

   Yamamoto, who is headed to UH-Manoa, plans of being a walk on for the Rainbows cross-country team and Harada, who will be attending UHH, will continue to run in local community races.

June 8, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Scholarship 5K Results and Photo’s

Keaau's Amy Eriksson, Waiakea's Bryce Harada & Kam's Kaitlyn Yamamoto

Keaau's Amy Eriksson, Waiakea's Bryce Harada & Kam's Kaitlyn Yamamoto

Partial Results of Scholarship 5K run/walk held Sunday, June 7:

Donald Truesdell – 17:00

Johan Dana – 17:36                                                                                               

Akira Tanaka – 17:58                                                  

Steve Pavao & Alex Hatzis

Steve Pavao & Alex Hatzis

Amlesom Teklai – 18:01

Justin Pang – 19:20

Bryce Harada – 19:30

Shannon White – 20:19

Alex Hatzis – 21:02

Steve Pavao – 21:04

Jeremy Buttz – 21:43

Adam Busek – 22:24

Dano Banks – 22:49

Cindy Fuke – 23:13                                                                                 

Cindy Fuke & Dano Banks

Cindy Fuke & Dano Banks

Robert Patey – 23:34

Kaitlyn Yamamoto – 23:55

Edward Dalton – 24:00                                                                              

Josh Bipert – 24:23

Amy Eriksson – 24:57

Esther Kanehailua – 24:57

Kumei Kern – 25:02

David Hammes – 26:23

Jerez Tehero – 26:42

Rae Mori – 26:45

Firman Tehero – 27:30                                                                                      

Some of the helpful volunteers

Some of the helpful volunteers

Jill Macki – 27:47

Betty Maeua – 33:01

Malcolm Maeua – 33:02

Richard Crowe – 33:12

Jill Osborn – 33:35

Kekai Wong Yuen – 37:02

Donna Wong Yuen – 37:04

Warren Marumoto – 39:07

Krystal Goodwin – 45:13

Lauren Hill – 45:14

Hannah Geppert – 49:51

Tom Raffipiy – 1:00.50                                 

Overall winners, Donald Truesdell & Cindy Fuke with their prize

Overall winners, Donald Truesdell & Cindy Fuke with their prize

Ryanne Raffipiy – 1:00.51

June 7, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Esther Kanehailua staying healthy

Esther Kanehailua living healthy

Esther Kanehailua living healthy


Memorial Day, a day to reflect, and to honor those brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country. For many of us Memorial Day is a long weekend to spend with family and friends.
Ha’aheo Elementary School Principal, Esther Kanehailua, enjoys the Memorial Day weekend for both reflection and for time with her family.
Kanehailua lost her mother to heart disease when she was in intermediate school and that loss is a constant reminder for her to watch her weight, watch what she eats, and to exercise.
“I grew up in a house with three brothers and can remember always being interested in sports because of my brothers,” Kanehailua said.
“I played football with my brothers. I don’t know if you can call it playing as I was more of a needed “man” for two man teams of touch football,” she said.
Those “touch football” games with her brothers soon turned into full contact but Kanehailua can see the positive lessons of rough play. “I think it (full contact) toughened me up. When you grow up with three brothers you really are at their mercy if you want to play.”
But like most girls prior to Title IX Kanehailua never played organized sports while growing up and instead opted for being a spectator of male dominated games.
“My dad was a big sports fan and he filled our house with quotes from great coaches like Vince Lombardi. I remember even having a quote on our toilet seat cover as kids,” she said.
Kanehailua remained relatively inactive for most of her adult life while raising four children and being married to a county police officer, Marshall.
“The older I got the more the weight crept on. There was nothing medically wrong, although I tried to convince myself that it was something out of my control. The truth was simply my poor eating habits and lack of physical activity,” Kanehailua said.
“I tried walking in order to control my weight, but that never helped as I was hitting the wall with weight loss. About a year ago my husband (Marshall) suggested doing interval training,” she said.
The interval training involved brief sprints between telephone poles, which means that Kanehailua would start off walking and upon reaching a telephone pole she would run to the next pole, then walk again, alternating walking and running on alternating poles.
“I tried the intervals and quickly realized that once I started running it would be better to keep running rather than stop; it was kind of like Forrest Gump,” she said.
Kanehailua also adopted better eating habits and as a result has transformed into a healthy, energized person.
“Thanks to my colleagues at work we all joined Weight Watchers which really forced me to be accountable for what I eat by journaling, monitoring portions and learning to make better food choices,” she said.
Kanehailua now looks to include lots of high fiber into her diet while choosing low fat foods. “Now I eat oatmeal every morning with dried fruit and ground flaxseed. I take vegetables like bell pepper, tomatoes and carrots for a mid morning snack,” she said.
For lunch Kanehailua will have a sandwich or a salad with some protein included and will have an afternoon snack of fruit and yogurt.
“Dinner is usually whatever my family eats, which will always include a salad,” she said. “And yes, desserts, defiantly in moderation compared to life before Weight Watchers.”
During weekdays you can find Kanehailua on the treadmill at Orchid Isle Fitness at 4:45 p.m. where she will do 5-miles.
On the weekends Kanehailua will hit the road where she will do longer runs consisting of 7 to 8 miles.
“Akolea Road is my favorite run. It has panoramic views of the bay and Mauna Kea on a clear day. The incline of Akolea is just right and the side streets provide more challenging hills,” she said.
In 2005 Esther and her family participated in the EMS Walk/Run when proceeds raised were used to defray the medical cost for her sister-in-law, Karen, who was battling cancer. “Every year since, we have participated and encouraged others to join us at this great family event. This year approximately 24 Mabuni’s, my family, and Kanehailua’s, my husband’s family, participated in either the walk or run,” she said.
Kanehailua’s progress had caught my attention few months ago as she was beginning to not only enter running events, but would often place in the top three of most of the community 3.1-mile runs held along Hilo Bayfront.
Back in March Kanehailua tried her hand at the Hilo Half-Marathon (13.1-miles) and has now set her sits on doing a full marathon.
“That (Hilo Half-Marathon) was such a great run. The weather was perfect and the hills on Akolea prepared me for the scenic route portion. The next goal is the Honolulu Marathon in December,” she said.
For those readers that are just starting out with an exercise program Kanehailua has the following advice:
“Just start somewhere,” she said. “I started walking and I never thought that I would be running. It is amazing how good some physical activity can make you feel which in turn influences the way you eat and the amount of stress you feel.”
“Most importantly, tell others what your goals are and that way you are held accountable,” Kanehailua said.

May 25, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Profiles, Running on the Big Island | , , | Leave a comment