Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Veteran’s Day Extra Special to Big Dog

Veteran's on hand for the Vet Day 5K run/walk in Hilo

Last year my wife, Randee, asked me how I wanted to spend my birthday.  “Should we take a trip, spend an evening at a five star hotel or go on a cruise?” she asked.

After thinking long and hard about what really makes me happy and a birthday occasion special, I replied, I’d like to put on a Veteran’s Day run/walk and have all the participants bring something for the Hawaii Food Basket.

Veteran’s Day is a special day to me not only because I’m a Vietnam Vet, but because Nov. 11 happens to fall on my birthday.

Last year more than 100 people showed up to pay tribute to the men and women who have made sacrifices to keep this country free. This year nearly 200 people participated in the run/walk and another 25 plus people came out to volunteer.

“This is a great event,” State House Representative, Jerry Chang said.  “We are here to honor those that served our country and to contribute to our Hawaii Island Food Basket.”

Dr. Joseph D’Angelo

Chang, a veteran himself, gave the opening remarks prior to the start of the race and was followed by Dr. Joseph D’Angelo, who returned last year from a tour of duty in the Middle East.

“Last year I spoke of running in an environment of freedom and not from mortar fire,” D’Angelo said.  “This year I speak about gratitude and the importance of continued family support.”

D’Angelo pointed out the appreciation the troops have of receiving care packages from home. He also spoke of the love for the soldiers when they are gone and upon their return.

“I extend my gratitude to all who support our men and women in uniform as well as supporting the families who remain back home.”

At the start of the 5K run a pair of University of Hawaii at Hilo cross country runners, Zach Johnson and Keoni Ucker, zoomed into the lead followed by Jason Braswell of the Big Island Running Company in Kona.

“I went out fast and tried to keep up with Zach (Johnson) during the first mile,” Ucker said.  “Once I took the lead I separated myself from everyone else as I pushed hard and was never seriously challenged.”

Ucker won in a time of 16 minutes 6 seconds, with Braswell trying to play catch up.

“My Dad is a vet and I wanted to honor him by being here today,” Ucker said.  “In fact both my parents came out to watch me run and this was a way to say thank you to my Dad.”

For Kona’s Jason Braswell and wife Melissa running the race was a good opportunity to be with likeminded people who share a common interest.

“We wanted to be part of this great event and show our support for our Veteran’s,” Braswell said.

Braswell was in the pack with Ucker and Johnson during the first mile and tried to catch Ucker once he separated.

“I was trying to stay with him (Ucker) but wasn’t making much headway,” he said.

Braswell also enjoyed the Hilo weather saying that it was a lot easier to run.

“The weather conditions here were perfect, with no wind, which made for great racing conditions,” Braswell said of his second place finish in 16:36.

Johnson hung onto third, 16:56; and was followed by Justin Pang, 17:20; and Chris Evans, 17:28.

For the women it was another pair of UHH harriers that pulled away from the rest of the ladies field.  Vulcan Kaylene Peric, 19:35; beat out teammate Krista Andrew, 20:01; and was followed by Robyn DeBenedet, 20:07; Melissa Braswell, 21:25; and Lory Hunter, 21:38.

“I wanted to see how well I could do today and to compare today’s time with my time when I last ran this course in August,” Peric said.

Peric finished almost a full minute ahead of her previous time and was pleased with her efforts.

“I’m especially pleased to be a part of this race that honored our Vets and to be able to donate something to the food drive,” she said.

Nine members of the Coast Guard Kiska

Nine members of the Coast Guard Cutter, Kiska, anchored in Hilo were on hand to run the 3.1 mile course.

“We are active duty service members and we have just returned from one year in Iraqi waters,” Lt. Commanding Officer Craig Dente said.  “We wanted to be part of this event that recognizes our military veterans.”

Following the run/walk participants were treated to a bananas, papayas and cookies supplied by Jerry Chang and his group of volunteers.

Hunter Bishop

Hunter Bishop from Mayor Billy Kenoi’s office read a message from the mayor which spoke of our observation of Veterans Day to honor the unselfish dedication of those who have honorably served the cause of freedom in our nation’s armed forces.

“Your ability to compete in this wonderful event is made possible by the sacrifices of those countless veterans whom we honor,” the mayor wrote.  “We recognize and salute the veterans among you, as we also honor our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and mothers and fathers, who continue to serve and protect our nation throughout the world today.”

Members representing a variety of labor unions were also on hand and included representatives from HGEA, UPW, ILWU, SHOPO, HSTA, the Carpenters Union and others in support of our Veterans.

The Hawaii State Teachers Association, headed by Rae Yamanaka, had the largest member group participating and won a special Big Dog award.

The event raised a total of 356 pounds of food and $293 in cash and checks for the Hawaii Island Food Basket.

Mahalo Hilo for your continued support of our troops.

And someday should you happen to see a proud vet come jogging around the Eastside of Hawaii Island remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

Related Links:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/vet-day-5k-reaps-benefit-for-the-hawaii-island-food-basket/

http://www.hawaii247.com/2010/11/11/big-dog-5k-race-honors-veterans-and-helps-the-hungry/

https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2010/11/12/more-photos-from-big-dogs-veterans-day-5k/

https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/group-photos-from-big-dogs-veterans-day-5k/

November 15, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vulcan Harriers to Open Season at BYU

Leading the Vulcan runners is Kirsta Andrew

A dozen Vulcan cross-country runners will test their legs this Saturday when the Pacific West Conference kicks off their season with a meet at Brigham Young University in Laie on Oahu.

Seven home grown Big Island harriers anchor a solid five women and seven men Vulcan squad into the 2010 fall cross-country season.

“Our men should be competitive in the PacWest Conference,” veteran Vulcan coach Jaime Guerpo said.  “Our women should be competitive too as both squads are hard working, but the ladies are lacking in race experience.”

Leading the way for the men is team captain Keoni Ucker a former prep star with Christian Liberty Academy in Keaau.

“I’m really excited about our first meet,” Ucker said.  “I’m hoping to be in the top five, but you never know what to expect competition wise.”

Ucker began the preseason by winning the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame 5K on August 22, running away from the rest of his teammates and the rest of the field.

“I think I’m prepared, more so than in past years.  I’ve done a long run each week of one and a half hours and I’m now up to doing two hour runs,” Ucker said.

In his senior year at CLA, 2007, Ucker won the state championship in the 1500 meter race and there was a lot of expectations placed upon him after he signed with the Vulcan’s.

“I tend to put too much pressure on myself and I stress out,” Ucker said. “I am trying to learn to relax more while running my hardest in each and every race.”

Hawaii Pacific University and BYU-Hawaii are the two teams to beat this season in the PacWest, according to Guerpo.

Joining Ucker is Nick Hagemann, Keaau; James Imai, Waiakea; Justin Pang, CLA; Jerry Nourrie, Honokaa; Paul Mauser, Oregon; and Zach Johnson from Wisconsin.

Hagemann is considered the number two runner on the team and like Ucker has stepped up his workouts by incorporating more hills and longer runs.

“I had an off year last year as I suffered through a nagging injury,” Hagemann said.  “I feel better prepared for this season and have set my goals on getting into the top ten at PacWest.”

During his senior year at Keaau, 2008, Hagemann became the Big Island Interscholastic Federation 1500 meter champion and was fourth in the state for that event.

“I like running on the colligate level and have learned to practice good time management so that I can juggle school, studying, work and practice,” he said. 

“The real heavy team favorites in the PacWest is the Academy of Arts from San Francisco who have 12 Kenyans running on their team.  Four of those runners were in the top of the PacWest last season,” Guerpo said.

The girl’s squad is led by two time all-PacWest standout, Kirsta Andrew who is originally from California. Joining Andrew will be Lilianna Desmither from Hilo, Kapua Lapera, Kau; Rachel Clute, Castle, and newcomer Kaylene Peric a UHH tennis player who is trying her hand at cross-country.

Guerpo believes that two times defending conference champion, BYU-Hawaii has the inside track to repeating.  “BYU has experience on their side and HPU has added Maui high school champion, Hailey Grossman, to their roster which will make them even stronger,” Coach Guerpo said.

The Vulcan’s have a two time champion of their own in Andrew who won all-PacWest honors for her athletic ability and her classroom skills.

Andrew was a first team all-PacWest selection as a freshman and on the second team during her sophomore year.  “I had an off year last year and have set my goal at making the first team this year,” Andrew said.

Besides her athletic skills Andrew carries a 3.79 cumulative average in the classroom. 

“My off season training included more intense tempo runs with some friends from my home town in California,” Andrew said.  “I think I’m ready for Saturday’s season opener and with the addition of Kaylene (Peric) we should be very competitive.”

Since joining the Vulcan squad as a walk on two weeks ago Peric has been able to run with Andrew during practice sessions, according to Guerpo.

“Kaylene played tennis for UH Hilo last season and became a surprise walk on for us this season,” Guerpo said.  “She’s going to be right up there with Kirsta as she’s already proven herself at a fun run in Hilo a few weeks ago.”

“Krista (Andrew) is our women’s team captain and is definitely a leader for our team,” Guerpo said.  “We need her experience and leadership to help the other ladies on the team.”

The addition of Rachel Clute, a freshman, is a big question mark for the team as she comes to the Vulcan’s better known for her soccer skills than her running ability.

“Rachel has never run cross country and comes to us with an extensive soccer background,” Guerpo said.  “I think she will develop into a good runner as she gains experience.”

The cards will all unfold this Saturday when UHH takes their two teams to Oahu for the season opener. 

September 10, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Big Dog’s 5K Run/Walk Kicks Off Sports Hall of Fame Day

5K winners Kaylene Peric and Keoni Ucker

Sunday, August 22, was proclaimed by Hawaii Island Mayor Billy Kenoi as Big Island Sports Hall of Fame Day. 

A trio of events highlighted the day in which tribute was paid to those who have been inducted and those to be inducted into the BISHF.

The morning started out with a 5K (3.1-mile) run/walk with the start and finish line in the parking area of Moku Ola.

University of Hawaii cross country coach, Jaime Guerpo, was on hand along with a group of Vulcan harriers which used the event as a preseason tune up.

 “This race is a good measuring stick to see where my runners are at and whether or not they have been training during the off season,” Guerpo said.

Leading the way for most of the race was UHH star and former Christian Liberty Academy harrier, Keoni Ucker, who made Coach Guerpo proud.  Ucker was challenged during the first half-mile of the race by teammate Zach Johnson.

“I had not been training as much as I wanted to during the summer,” Ucker said after the race.  “I don’t want to peak to early prior to the season and I’m satisfied where I’m at right now.”

Ucker won the race with a finishing time of 16 minutes and 11 seconds, nearly a full minute ahead of Johnson who clocked in at 17:08.

UHH had seven men and five women racing as they swept most of the top spots in the overall race results.  Former CLA and UHH standout Justin Pang took third, 17:11; Andrew Holbrook, 17:13; and Scott Hunter was fifth in 17:23.

Hunter runs track and field for Central Washington University where he competes in the pole vault and decathlon events.  On Saturday the former Hilo High grad won the Rain Forest Funs 5K in 18 minutes.

For the women it was UHH tennis player, Kaylene Peric, finishing 19th overall, while taking first for the ladies division in 20:25.

“I’m originally from Michigan, but I’ve been attending UHH and study in the pharmacy department,” Peric said.  “I don’t really race, but I like to run and today I just wanted to see what I could do.”

Peric plans on being a walk on for the Vulcan’s cross-country team this year as she finds the flexibility afforded her in the team’s practice schedule is more conducive to her school schedule.

Following Peric for the women was Kirsta Andrew, 21:22; Nina Hagemann, 21:45; Lory Hunter, 21:48; and Melissa Braswell in 22:21.

The youngest member of the group was 8 year old Romeo Tebelan from Kalanianaole Elementary School who traversed the course in 38:26.

Marisa and Harlina Manley

Also on hand were family members of the late Hamilton Manley, a basketball legend who was later in the day to be inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame.

“My dad always used to have us involved in a variety of 5K and 10K running events,” Harlina Manley said.  “My daughter, Brittany, and I flew in from California to be part of my dad’s induction into the Sports Hall of Fame.”

“We used to do races together as a family including the Saddle Road Relay,” Marisa Manley, widow of Hamilton said.  “Today brought back some emotional moments for us as we feel connected with Hamilton through doing these races.”

Hamilton Manley’s sons, Isaac who lives on the Big Island, and Harlan from Oregon, also were part of the day’s events honoring a man that gave so much to his family and community.

Later in the morning the venue moved to Prince Kuhio Plaza where seven new members joined the already 114 previously selected individual Big Island sports heros. 

The seven people that were inducted into the BISHF 12th class were Richard Nakano, Karate; Mo Mathews, swimming; Harold “Russian” Furtado, track & field;   Manny Veincent, outrigger canoe paddling;  Ruth E.K. Walker, Aikido; Hamilton Manley, basketball;  and Francis “Bo” Saiki, baseball/softball.

The BISHF day concluded with a luncheon at the Nani Mau Gardens where county and state proclamations were given out, along with individualized plaques.

Related Post with race summary and photos at:  http://bigislandrunningcompany.com/Big_Island_Running_Company/Blog.html

August 23, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments