Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Volunteers make 2012 Big Island Marathon a Huge Success

Sunday concluded the 15th running of the Big Island International Marathon and some of Hilo’s best runners were seen on the road, but weren’t entered in the race.

Local speedsters Keoni Ucker, Nick Hagemann, Zach Johnson, James Imai, Alejandra Sanchez, Krista Andrew, Kelly Rogers and Liliana Desmither got an early start on the race, but never crossed the finish line.

The above mentioned group are all members of the University of Hawaii at Hilo cross country men’s and women’s team and they were doing community service which had them on the roads at 1 am.

“We start at 1 in the morning by laying out the 400 state and county cones to clearly mark the course for the runners,” UHH harrier coach Jaime Guerpo said.

Guerpo and his group of runners are some of the more than 300 volunteers that provide the behind the scenes support that makes for a safe marathon, half marathon and 5K event.

“This is our fifth year that we have helped the Big Island Marathon and it is a gratifying experience for us,” Guerpo said.  “I think it just helps our team bonding and says a lot about my athletes and what we hope to contribute.”

Guerpo’s group will also lay out all the ‘runner on the road’ signs, along with other signs that clearly mark the course.

“We put up flashers on barricades to block off roads in order to send cars one way and to keep the runners safe,” Guerpo said.

At 9 am Guerpo and his athletes will do everything in reverse by picking up the cones and barricades and on Monday morning everything gets returned back to the County and State Highways Division.

Waiakea High School, Key Club, under the direction of Kari Sato also had numerous members spread over 26 miles of the course as they provided the needed liquid (water/Gatorade) to participants in an attempt to avoid serious cases of dehydration.

Sato has been assuming the role of providing the supplies necessary to all 13 aid stations over the past several years as a community service project and her job actually starts on Saturday when leaders of each aid station meets with her to  pick up their supplies.

“We see this as a good service project for all involved,” Sato said.  “It allows our Key clubbers to see, first hand a race up close.”

Also playing a key role are the Kiwanis who course marshal the entire 26 miles of the route.

“This project was taken on by our organization to assist and help the economy,” Roy Kagawa sad.  “The cost of hosting this event and welcoming many runners and guest from all over the world, only gains recognition if the community helps.”

Kiwanis have been helping the BIIM for more than 10 years and they took over the course marshalling of the route six years ago, under the direction of Roy Kagawa.

“The entire service project is our way of contributing and we can involve the entire Kiwanis Family in doing service in one day,” Kagawa said.

Kiwanis International sponsors a global organization in which there is a project called “Kiwanis One Day,” according to Kagawa/

“This is a way we can do our One Day contribution to our community,” Kagawa said.

The Kiwanis Family starts with the parent club, Kiwanis Club of East Hawaii, and they will support other various clubs in the BIIM event such as UHH Circle K. in Hilo, Hilo High Key Club, Waiakea High Key Club, Hilo Intermediate Builders Club, Waiakea Intermediate Builders Club, EB deSilva Elementary K-Kids, Hilo Union Elementary BUGS program which all make significant contributions to the success of the BIIM.

At the finish line another group of volunteers are waiting under a tent for the finishers of the marathon.

Dan Renteria, an athletic trainer from Waiakea High School, had assembled a group of high school trainers to volunteer in providing free massages to any marathoner who desired one.

“I began volunteering at the marathon to supplement my internship hours while attending Ki Mana Academy,” Renteria said.  “When I graduated and received my massage therapy license I would then volunteer to help promote my practice, Na Hiku Massage Therapy LLC.”

Locally, Licensed Massage Therapists have been difficult to get as volunteers so Renteria asked his fellow Certified Athletic Trainers if they could help.

“Some of the Athletic Trainers were interested in learning post event massage so I hold workshops and they practice the procedure on anyone walking into the facility door,” Renteria said.  “It’s been very gratifying to know our efforts have been appreciated by the runners and race organizers.”

During the first 10 miles of the race there are five aid stations and all of them are community sponsored and have been providing support to the marathon for 15 years.

Lorraine Mendoza, Susan Munro, May Navarro, G A Rock, are just a few aid station leaders

Clarita Corpuz from Retired Senior Volunteer Program brings RSVP volunteers to make packets for the runners several days before the event, then supplies the necessary manpower for packet pick up the day before the races.

At the race finish line you can see many RSVP workers handing out food and preparing drinks to insure that everyone is healthy and taken care of.

The Hawaii State Teachers active and retired take part in providing an aid station and in the distribution of finisher’s tee shirt.

The list goes on and on of those that came out to selfishly provide the manpower to make an event of this scale take place.

And someday should you happen to see a very grateful race organizer doing a jog around Hilo Bayfront remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

March 19, 2012 Posted by | Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

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. 

Kuramoto

“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.

PAW PRINTS:

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

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