Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Michelle Chobany, radiation therapist, at Hawaii Pacific Oncology


I’ve been saying over the many years of doing this column that it is important for parents to serve as good fitness role models to their children if they want to see them healthy and at an acceptable weight.

It was during one of my radiation treatments at the Hawaii Pacific Oncology Center that I meet a mother that serves as a fitness role model for her two children.

Michelle Chobany, a radiation therapist, along with the rest of the staff is friendly and easy to speak with.

“I am so thankful that I truly love my job,” Chobany said.  “I get such a great feeling by helping people.”

It is great to have knowledgeable staff that enjoys what they do.  When you have cancer those friendly people helping you can make a world of difference in the success of your treatments.

“It is amazing the technology we have today and we are very fortunate to have an awesome staff and wonderful doctors at the center,” Chobany said.

Chobany works in a high stress environment working with fined tuned technology that leaves no room for error.

“My job can be stressful at times and we must stay focused at all times to ensure correct treatments,” she said.  “I cope with stress by trying to stay active.”

One of the best methods to relieve stress is, of course, regular physical exercise and Chobany takes the right antidote by getting outdoors and moving.

“I will do some type of physical activity every day after work,” Chobany said.  “It makes me feel good and I love being outside.”

Chobany will add variety to what she does to keep the workouts new and exciting.

“I go to BJ Penn Gym two or three times a week and I paddle with Kamehameha Canoe Club two days a week, usually on the weekends,” she said.  I enjoy spending times outdoors hiking the Hamakua Coast or swimming at our beautiful beaches with my family.”

Chobany’s husband, Rodney, stays fit by working on the family lychee orchard in Wailea.

“Rodney will run two or three times a week to Kolekole Park and back, which is a beautiful run,” she said.  “He also helps train and works out with our son Kanoa who plays football and runs track at Hawaii Predatory Academy.”

Chobany’s daughter, Melia, is also physically active playing volleyball, basketball and swimming for HPA.

“Our family enjoys being active outdoors and once we are done with our chores during the week we do family time together on the weekends,” Chobany said.  “We appreciate our outdoor time together.”

Rodney began his foundation of athleticism when he started running as a freshman in high school where he ran the 400 and was on the 4×4 relay team.

“During a rainy cold day I was fooling around with the pole vaulters by doing their drills,” Rodney said.  “When a coach came out and saw me he yelled now you’re a pole vaulter.”

As fate would have it Chobany became one of the best vaulters in the state and then went on to the University of Pittsburgh where he was a four year letterman and the captain of the track team.

“I was a sprinter and a pole vaulter and in my senior year broke my back vaulting at a meet at the University of North Carolina,” he said.

Despite a bad back this hasn’t slowed up Chobany and he still serves as a good role model for health and fitness.

The Chobany’s try to balance their fitness needs by eating a healthy diet.

“We go to the Hilo farmers market every week to get our veggies and fruits,” Chobany said.

“The Farmers Market is amazing which allows us to eat a balanced diet.”

Besides exercising together the Chobany’s will also cook together as a family.

“We love to cook and appreciate the different types of food that are available,” she said.  “We believe in the anything in moderation life style when it comes to eating.”

The couple moved to San Diego where Michelle received her degree at UCSD in 1992.

“Rodney and I came to Maui in 1992 for our honeymoon,” she said.  “It was then our dream to live in Hawaii and we are very blessed to be living our dream and having our children grow up on the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island.”

“I am proud to say that I work at the Hilo Medical Cancer Center,” she said.

I know that I am blessed to have people like Michelle Chobany to take care of me when I spent six weeks of radiation treatments.

There is nothing more satisfying than to have someone that knows what they are doing and maintains a happy spirit while taking care of their patients.

Michelle Chobany is just one of the many people that I met at the HMCC that made me feel welcomed and always greeted me with a cheerful greeting and a warm smile.

And someday should you happen to see a happy, slightly bald person trying to exercise by doing laps around his neighborhood remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

June 11, 2012 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dan Nathaniel Long Distance Canoe Race – Full Results

The Waikoloa men and Na Waa Hanakahi women won races in the iron division at Hilo Bay on Sept. 17 at Kamehameha Canoe Club’s Dan Nathaniel Long Distance Canoe Race.

Crews were given an opportunity to prepare for Sunday’s Na Wahine o Ke Kai, which runs from Molokai to Oahu.

MEN    Iron division

Waikoloa, 1:38.07, nontraditional   Kawaihae, 1:41.30, open glass

Hui Waa o Waiakea, 1:41.48, open koa   Kai Ehitu, 1:44.55, open koa

Kai Ehitu, 1:45.02, open glass   Kai Opua, 1:46.33, 40-plus

Kamehameha, 1:49.15, open glass   Keaukaha, 1:51.59, 50-plus

Kai Ehitu, 1:47.31, 40-plus glass   Kilauea, 1:59.46, open glass

Nine-men fiberglass    Kamehameha, 2:28.44, open glass

Waikoloa, 2:29.19, 40-plus     Kai Opua, 2:30.22, open glass


Iron division    Na Waa Hanakahi, 1:21.06, mix open glass

Na Waa Hanakahi, 1:21.55, mix 40 glass   Kai Ehitu, 1:22.22, koa

Waikoloa, 1:23.28, mix nontraditional   Volcanos National Park, 1:24.45, women glass

Kai Ehitu, 1:26.01, women glass   Kai Ehitu, 1:29.50, women 40

Keaukaha, 1:30.09, mix glass   Keaukaha, 1:32.54, women 55

Kamehameha, n/a, mix glass     Laka, 1:34.07, mix glass

Nine-women fiberglass    Puna, 2:59.24    Kamehameha, 3:05.44    Keauhou, 3:08.24

September 24, 2011 Posted by | Canoe Racing | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Calvin Kelekolio Long Distance Race – Full Results from 8/20/2011

Race held Saturday, August 20, 2011 at Honaunau Bay


Finish/Club Name Time Division

1. Kai Opua 1:06:53 First open  2. Keauhou 1:07:30 Second open   3. Kawaihae 1:08:18 Third open  

4. Kai Opua 1:08:28 First 40 2s   5. Kai Opua 1:09:24 Fourth open  6. Puna 1:09:55 Fifth open

7. Keauhou 1:10:18 Second 40 2s  8. Kamehameha 1:10:55 Sixth open 9. Keaukaha 1:12:05 Seventh open  

10. Keauhou 1:12:52 First 50 2s   11. Kawaihae 1:13:10 Eighth open   12. Kona Athletic 1:13:28 First unclassified

 13. Keaukaha 1:13:39 Ninth open  14. Kawaihae 1:14:20 10th open   15. Waikoloa 1:14:40 Second unclassified  

16. Keauhou 1:15:10 Third 40 2s   17. Kai Ehitu 1:15:16 First Koa  18. Keauhou 1:15:40 11th open  

19. Puna 1:15:58 Second 50 2s  20. Kawaihae 1:16:07 Fourth 40 2s 21. Puna 1:16:17 12th open  

22. Kai Ehitu 1:16:20 13th open 23. Keaukaha 1:16:40 14th open  24. Kamehameha 1:16:47 15th open

25. Keauhou 1:16:50 16th open  26. Kai Opua 1:17:22 First 60 2s

27. Kai Ehitu 1:18:29 Fifth 40 2s  28. Kai Opua 1:19:59 Sixth 40 2s 29. Keauhou 1:21:17 Second 60 2

s  30. Keaukaha 1:25:00 Third 60 2s   31. Keoua 1:25:54 Second Koa


1. Kona Athletic 1:07:29 First unclassified  2. Tui Tonga 1:11:28 First open 3. Kai Ehitu 1:13:07 Second open  

4. Na Wa a Hanakahi 1:15:00 Third open 5. Tui Tonga 1:15:50 Fourth open  6. Mamalahoe 1:16:10 Fifth open

7. Paddlers of Laka 1:17:33 Sixth open  8. Na Wa a Hanakahi 1:17:55 seventh open

9. Keaukaha 1:18:26 First 50 2s   10. Keaukaha 1:19:41 Eighth open  11. Waikoloa 1:26:18 Second 50 2s


1. Kai Opua 1:26:02 First open  2. Kai Opua 1:28:10 Second open 3. Puna 1:28:49 Third open

 4. Keauhou 1:30:15 Fourth open 5. Waikoloa 1:30:25 First unclassified  6. Puna 1:31:15 First 40 2s

7. Kamehameha 1:31:28 Fifth open  8. Tui Tonga 1:31:50 Sixth open 9. Keauhou 1:32:17 7th open  

10. Kai Opua 1:32:54 Second 40 2s  11. Kai Opua 1:33:08 First Koa  12. Keauhou 1:33:17 Eighth open

13. Kai Ehitu 1:33:26 Ninth open  14. Kawaihae 1:34:12 10th open 15. Keauhou 1:34:24 11th open  

16. Kai Opua 1:34:32 12th open 17. Tui Tonga 1:34:45 Second Koa  18. Keaukaha 1:35:45 13th open

19. Kai Opua 1:35:50 First 50 2s  20. Kai Ehitu 1:37:16 Third Koa 21. Kawaihae 1:37:22 Third 40 2s  

22. Kamehameha 1:37:55 14th open 23. Kai Opua 1:38:27 15th open  24. Keauhou 1:39:20 First 60 2s

25. Keauhou 1:40:13 Second 50 2s  26. Puna 1:40:36 16th open 27. Keoua 1:41:09 Third 50 2s  

28. Keoua 1:41:42 Fourth Koa 29. Kai Ehitu 1:43:09 17th open  30. Kai Opua 1:45:45 Fourth 50 2s

31. Kai Ehitu 1:46:19 18th open  32. Keaukaha 1:52:12 Second 60 2s 33. Waikoloa 1:53:39 Fourth 40 2s

August 25, 2011 Posted by | Canoe Racing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Canoe Paddling Icon inducted into Sports Hall of Fame

John Kekua, Jr.

John Clifford Kekua, Jr. inducted into Sports Hall of Fame

John Kekua, Jr. passed away on September 1, 2010 at the age of 62.

Kekua was an icon and great role model in the Hawaiian Outrigger Canoe Paddling Community for more than 30 years. 

According to his daughter, Joy Kekua, canoe paddling has been passed down from generation to generation with the Kekua family.

Kekua was always athletic, being a member of the Hilo High football team he also threw shot put for the Vikings.

But Kekua made his mark in the world of canoe paddling as he worked to reorganize the Kamehameha Canoe Club in 1975.  Totally dedicated to canoe paddling Kekua worked tirelessly to preserve and perpetuate the sport until his passing.

Over the past 30 years Kekua has held numerous positions such as president of the Kamehameha Canoe Club, head coach of the same club, president of Moku O Hawaii Racing Association, president of Hawaiian Canoe Racing……….the list goes on and on.

For his numerous contributions to Hawai’i Island’s canoe paddling community and for his unselfish years of service the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame has inducted him, along with six others.

The BISHF will have a ceremony at the Wall of Fame at the Prince Kuhio Mall on August 21 at 10 am.

“We will introduce the seven and display their photos to the wall,” Chairman Derek Shigematsu said.  “We are hoping past inductees and the general public will come out to support the newly inducted honorees.”

Following the Wall dedication the ceremony will move to a luncheon at the Nani Mau Gardens at noon were a formal ceremony will take place.

For those interested in attending the luncheon the cost is $20 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under.  Seating is limited.

Tickets may be purchased in advance by calling Ellsworth Fontes at 935-5519.

The late Jack Matsui was the founder of the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame.

July 29, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment