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

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/




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

Ucker has best collegiate finish during Pac West home meet

Pac West Men's 4 mile race, photo by Brad Balleseros

Keoni Ucker

Home course advantage played a huge role this past Saturday as Keoni Ucker took his distance running to a new level in the Pacific West Conference.

The University of Hawaii at Hilo hosted a 4 mile men’s and 3.7 mile women’s cross country meet on the grounds of the Naniloa Golf Course in Hilo.

Ucker, a graduate of Christian Liberty Academy, surprised the home town crowd by going out with the lead pack during the first mile of the race.

“I was pumped for this race and actually took the lead briefly during the first mile.  I was in a group of three or four runners during the early stages,” he said.

Going into the race Ucker’s best finish in collegiate competition had been a seventh place finish earlier this season, but with family and friends cheering his every step the former CLA star took his running to a higher level.

Eventual winner, Thomas Puzey from Bingham Young University, separated himself from the pack after the first mile and Ucker was left in a battle for second with BYUH’s Justin Royer.

“Royer and I surged back and forth for most of the race as we tried to stay in contact with the lead runner,” Ucker said.

During the final 200 yards with the finish line in sight Royer took a slim lead over Ucker as both men dug deep for the runner up spot.

Royer crossed the finish line in 20:59 with Ucker just three seconds behind.

“I’m really happy with this race and I loved the course.  This is by far the best race I’ve ever had in college,” Ucker said of his third place finish.

Nick Hagemann

Vulcan teammate, Nick Hagemann, finished in 11th place and was the second of six UHH men in the field of 28.

“I went out kinda fast and clocked a 5:09 for my first mile,” Hagemann said.

  Hagemann, a 2008 graduate of Keaau High, matched his previous best Pac West finish and was pleased with his performance.

   “We’ve been having some really hard practices and we still haven’t tapered yet.  I liked this new course better than the old one and I thought we had some pretty fast times.  I think I’ve finally made the adjustment between juggling school, work and running,” Hagemann said.

Thomas Puzey

BYUH’s Thomas Puzey won the race in 20:49 and led his powerful Seasider team to victory over Hawaii Pacific University, UHH and Chaminade.

“This was my second Pac West win and I found the middle miles difficult to maintain my focus,” Puzey said.

Puzey had lots of praise for teammate Matthew Glulden who finished in 12th place saying that Glulden was coming off an eight day rest from injury.

“Thomas usually beats me in races and he always pushes me in practice.  If he’d (Glulden) been in shape today who knows what would of happened,” Puzey said.

The women’s race followed the men and by that time the rain clouds had disappeared and the sun was out with the humidity climbing which made it more challenging for the ladies.

Frida Aspneas

HPU’s Frida Aspnaes wasn’t hampered by the weather conditions and took the lead from start to finish as she methodically distanced herself from the rest of the field winning in a time of 22:14.

“It was difficult to keep up my speed and more difficult to run by myself,” Aspnaes said.

Aspnaes is in her first semester at HPU and moved to Hawaii from Sweden.

“I never ran in high school or college before as I participated in a sport called orienteering in Sweden.  Orienteering is very big in Scandinavia and it accounts for my physical conditioning,” she said.

Vulcan harrier, Kaylene Peric, looked to be in fine form to finish her best race of the season when she ran in a pack with BYUH’s Lacey Krout and Katherine Buxton as the trio fought for second place.

Peric encountered problems during the second half of the race and looked to be in serious trouble before dropping out of the race with about a mile and a half to go.

UHH’s Kirsta Andrew, who has led the team during the entire year, had the Vulcan’s best finish in 7th overall.

Kapua Lapera

Finishing in 17th was Vulcan Kapua Lapera who is a former hurdler for Kau, graduating in 2007.

“I never ran cross country in high school as bowling was during the same season.  I was offered a college scholarship to run track and do hurdles on the mainland, but turned it down,” she said.

Last season Lapera was invited to work out with the Vulcan women and this year she decided to give cross country a try.

“I wanted to come out and have fun with running and I’m still trying to convert from a sprinter to a distance runner,” Lapera said.

Lapera had been out during the week due to illness, but wanted to run on Saturday to help as a scoring team.

In cross country place scores are given to the first five members of the team to cross the finish line.  As it turned out the lady Vulcan’s only had four finishers and did not qualify for team scoring.

Related links:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2010/10/09/pacific-west-confrence-results/


October 10, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

UHH cross country to host Pac West Meet at Naniloa Golf Course

start of Pac West men’s race

Play on the Naniloa Golf Course will be suspended for 90 minutes on Saturday while the University of Hawaii at Hilo cross country teams run loops around the fairways.

UHH plays host to a Pacific West Conference Invitational Meet with harriers from Bingham Young-Hawaii, Chaminade and Hawaii Pacific University weave their way around the golf courses manicured grounds.

“As soon as I found out that there was a new golf course manager and that the Naniloa was a sponsor I gave it a shot and asked if we could host a meet on their course,” UHH Coach Jaime Guerpo said.

Guerpo jumped at the chance of using the golf course as a new venue for his UHH team and designed a spectator friendly course that has runners passing by the clubhouse and driving range.

“This is a great place to hold a cross country meet,” Guerpo said.  “We will be able to see more of the race with the runners going pass us for a mile in one direction and then passing through again, going in the opposite direction.”

Guerpo is also happy that none of the course runs on asphalt or crosses roads.

“We’re able to save money because we don’t need to rent a cop for traffic as the entire event is run on the golf course.  It is also safer in that there is no traffic and it is truly a cross country course,” he said.

Keoni Ucker

Showcasing the men’s field will be a solid BYUH team that has dominated the Pac West during the season.

“BYUH has three top men that are always leading the pack,” Guerpo said.

Thomas Puzey, Mathew Gulden and Justin Roger lead the Seasiders which won the Chaminade Invitational by 58 points over second place Alaska Fairbanks.

The Vulcan’s Keoni Ucker has been the top gun during the season breaking into the top 10 in each of his Pac West meets which included a seventh place finish at Chaminade the previous week.

Ucker, a former state track & field champion from Christian Liberty Academy, came into his own this season and has developed into a formidable competitor.

“I like the new course and it seems like it will be flat with fast times,” Ucker said.  “The race starts at the driving range and we do a couple of loops around the perimeter of the golf course, each time passing by the driving range which will give spectators a good opportunity to Csee us run.”

Ucker’s best finish this season has been fifth place overall when he ran in the Big Wave Invitational hosted by UH Manoa and when you remove an unattached runner from that race he finish fourth among Pac West competitors.

“I’m hoping to stay within the top five this week as this is our home course and we will have an advantage.  I feel more energized overall and I’m looking forward to doing well,” Ucker said.

James Imai

The Vulcan seven man squad is loaded with Big Island talent which includes Justin Pang, CLA; Nick Hagemann, Keaau; and James Imai, Waiakea.

Imai, a 2009 graduate, is in his first year of collegiate competition and is excited about running on the new course.

“It is very challenging with great competition,” Imai said of running for the Vulcan’s.  “We’ve had practice runs on the golf course twice and it should be a lot of fun this Saturday.  Running for UH Hilo is the best choice I’ve ever made.”

For the women it has been all Frida Aspnaes from HPU dominating the Pac West field.  UHH’s Krista Andrew remains the top runner for the Vulcan’s, but has had difficulty being consistent.

BYUH women dominate the team scoring as they have been able to get a solid core of five runners into the finish before any other squad.

Vulcan Women

Out of the five women racing for the Vulcan’s two are from the Big Island in Liliana Desmither, Hilo; and Kapua Lapera, Kau.

“Team wise we are not as strong as in years past, but this group of kids work just as hard as any team that I have coached.  I believe that we will fare well on Saturday,” Coach Guerpo said.

“We’d like to see people come out and support collegiate distance running.  I’d advise people who wanted to watch to go to the club house or driving range because those areas will give the best views,” Guerpo said.

The men will start at 8 am with a 4 mile race and the women will follow with a 6K (3.7 miles) according to Guerpo. 

“Collegiate men at this level usually race at 5 miles or 8 km and junior college runners will do 4 miles, but I decided to host this distance. The women in our conference will either race at the 5 or 6 km distance,” Guerpo said. 

October 8, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

BYUH Men & Women Leading Pac West cross country



Chaminade Invitational Sept.25,2010

Men’s 8K Individual Result









Thomas Puzey





Mathew Gulden





Justin Royer





Tyler Kornfield





Anders Ludvigsen





Vincente Herrera





Keoni Ucker





Luke Graesser





Brandon Krout





Nathan Williams





Dany Malley





Jon Cleghorn





Mathew Roberts





Nicholas Hagemann





David Norris





Andrew Arnold





Emmanuel Jimenez





Zach Johnson





Daniel Bridge





Garrett Prinslow





Lars Arneson





Eric Soederstroem





Ryan Spencer





Tucker Kidd





Craig Kandler





Rasmus Folino Nielsen





John Parry





Corey Jennings





Warren Nastivar





Cody Priest





Paul Olea





Justin Pang





Davey Cagle





John Fratinardo





Paul Mauser





Javob Garza





James Imai





Christian Smith





James Coughlin





Steven Hatton




Men’s 8K Team Result Place  Team  Points Total Points
 1  Brigham Young University – Hawaii  1 2 3 6 8 20
 2  University of Alaska Fairbanks  4 15 16 21 22 78
 3  Hawai’i Pacific University  5 11 12 25 26 79
 4  University of Hawaii at Hilo  7 14 18 32 35 106
 5  Chaminade University of Hawaii  10 17 20 24 39 110


 Chaminade Invitational Sept.25,2010 Women’s 5K Individual Result
Place Bib Name Team Time
1 26 Frida Aspnaes HPU 18:31.75
2 35 Raphaela Sieber UAF 18:43.40
3 34 Theresia Schnurr UAF 19:16.40
4 15 Lacey Krout BYUH 19:19.17
5 17 Amanda Wilson BYUH 19:21.46
6 9 Katherine Buxton BYUH 19:31.83
7 38 Ashlee Jimenez UH-Manoa 19:40.47
8 29 Jana Benedix UAF 19:42.42
9 12 Lacee Kurtz BYUH 19:43.43
10 11 Kelsey Elder BYUH 19:43.97
11 16 Eden Lake BYUH 19:46.32
12 8 Heather Brown BYUH 19:48.13
13 20 Kim Kuhnert HPU 19:50.27
14 13 Chanda Romney BYUH 20:02.49
15 36 Liisa Cushing UH-Manoa 20:11.41
16 33 Crystal Pitney UAF 20:15.62
17 30 Heather Edic UAF 20:20.44
18 6 Shannon Whener CUH 20:21.22
19 32 Kinsey Laine UAF 20:22.69
20 48 Kirsta Andrew UH-Hilo 20:25.92
Women’s 5K Team Result Place Team Points Total Points
1 Brigham Young University – Hawaii 4 5 6 9 10 34
2 Univerisity of Alaska Fairbanks 2 3 8 16 17 46
3 Hawai’I Pacific University 1 13 22 26 27 89
4 University of Hawaii at Manoa 7 15 21 25 30 98
5 University of Hawaii at Hilo 20 28 38 40 42 168




September 28, 2010 Posted by | Events | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment