Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

5K course discription for BIIM 5K and Big Dog’s Lovers Day 5K

BIG DOG’s Lovers Day 5K on Feb 19 – link: https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/big-dogs-lovers-day-5k-on-tap-for-feb-19-2012/

5K Course Description: 

  Starts at the far end of Bayfront Park and participants will head to the Suisan Bridge, turn left at the traffic light and go straight heading into Liliuokalani Gardens.

   Do the half loop around the Gardens as if you were going to Coconut Island, but continue until you hit Banyan Drive and take a left heading towards Reeds Bay (Ice Ponds).

   At the end of Reeds Bay, just before the stop sign near the Seaside Hotel, there will be an orange cone and the ground will be spray painted with an arrow – that is the turn around.

   You are now headed back on Banyan and you should run on the side of the golf course so that you are facing traffic.  Go straight to Suisan from there – Do not go back around Liliuokalani Gardens (ocean side).

   Go over the Suisan Bridge and this time follow the sidewalk out to Pauahi Street traffic lights, continue to the right on the sidewalk which will lead you back to the far entrance of Bayfront Park, near the start, continue down close to the canoe area and you’ll see the finish line.

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February 15, 2012 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Hilo’s Three Amigos, Nakasone, Blinn and Pavao, are Maniacs

Nakasone, Blinn & Pavao

In preparing to write this story the first thought that came to mind was the great 1986 comedy film starring Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short called “The Three Amigos.”

Right here in Hilo we have our own sort of Three Amigos and their friendship comes through with their love for running, more importantly marathon running.

DJ Blinn, Harvey Nakasone and Steve Pavao are characters in their own right, in the world of endurance running.

The trio have built a relationship through spending hours on the road and becoming what they proudly call themselves, “Maniacs,” “Marathon Maniacs” to be precise.

“We’ve been running together for over five years,” Pavao said.  “Harvey was the first Maniac on this island and he recruited us to become Maniacs.”

To be a Marathon Maniac is no simple task and for these Three Amigos that accomplishment came as a result of running two marathons (distances of 26.2 miles) within 15 days of each other.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with running or walking a marathon, try doing 44 laps around Liliuokalani Gardens in less than 7 hours and that will give you an idea.

“I became a Maniac in September 2007,” Nakasone said.  “I believe I was the first one to become a Maniac from this island and now we have quite a few.”

These Maniacal Amigos will reinstate their credentials on October 30 and November 6 when they run in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. and the following weekend with the New York City Marathon.

“Harvey was the one that came up with the idea,” Pavao said.  “He has run the Marine Corps Marathon once before and thought it would be great for all of us to do it along with the NYC Marathon the following Sunday.”

Both Blinn and Nakasone are former United States Marines and running in D.C. will be something special for them, according to Blinn.

“I’m a Vietnam Veteran and I have never been to D.C. to see the Vietnam Wall,” Blinn said.  “I want to pay tribute to my fallen comrades.”

Blinn served in Vietnam in 1967 and just thinking about visiting the Wall brought tears to his eyes.

“I know this will be an emotional experience and an opportunity of a lifetime,” Blinn said,

The trio have never done the NYC Marathon and they decided on that race precisely for the reason that it was the following weekend from the Marine Corp race.

“I’ve done the Marine Corps Marathon before and knew DJ would be interested in doing it since he is a former Marine,” Nakasone said.  “I plan on taking him to see the Vietnam Wall and I’m sure it will be an emotional experience for us all.”

In preparation for marathons the Hilo Maniacal Amigos will run together every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

“We enjoy the post run camaraderie,” Pavao said.  “We often travel together and bunk together to keep cost down.”

Last month the amigos ran on Kauai and they shared a room to keep expenses down, but more importantly to enjoy the bond they share together as runners.

“I have run about 25 marathons with them over the years,” Pavao said.  “And now we have started to run half marathons as well.”

Nakasone has complete 28 marathons and Blinn, the senior member of the group at age 62, has finished an incredible 104 marathons to date.

“I run for health reasons,” Nakasone said.  “I have Type II Diabetes and my mother and grandmother both died from diabetes.”

While running has kept Nakasone’s diabetes in check he also reaped the reward of losing 30 pounds from his dedication to the sport.

A new Marathon Maniac sister organization has been created called the Half Marathon Fanatics and Blinn, Pavao and Nakasone became the first from the Big Island to qualify as Half Fanatics when he completing two half marathons within the two week requirement.

“The half marathon has become the most popular running distance in America and I’m trying to get people from Hawaii to qualify in becoming a Half Fanatic,” Nakasone said.  “We now have five Half Fanatics from the Big Island and I’m sure we can get lots more by the end of this year.”

The qualifications for membership are the same, only the runners qualify by running half marathons (13.1 miles) instead of marathon, according to Pavao.

The Three Maniac Amigos will leave on their journey on Oct. 27 and have a couple of days in D.C. to acclimate before sharing in the Marine Corp Marathon together.

“We’ll take an Amtrak train to NYC from D.C. on Nov 2nd,” Pavao said.  “That will give us a few days in the Big Apple before the Big race.”

Pavao has his sights on breaking four hours for both marathons and will use the D.C. marathon as a training run for NYC.

“I am actually hoping I can run a faster time in NYC,” he said.

Whatever the Hilo Maniac Amigos do on the East Coast, one thing is for certain, they’ll be having fun doing it!

And someday should you happen to see a healthy, happy senior jogging laps up and down Shower Drive in Paradise Park remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

October 17, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Exciting Conclusion to EMS 5K race

EMS 5K overall winners, Stone & Halford

Cousins Brett Shea and Jackson Halford battled for top honors in the 11th annual Emergency Medical Services 5K run held Sunday at Liliuokalani Gardens in Hilo.

Shea from Denver, Colorado and Halford of Volcano, along with Jason Braswell of the Big Island Running Company in Kona went toe to toe during the 3.1 mile race to make for an exciting race to the finish.

Shea led for most of the out and back race until being run down by Halford in the final 200 yards.

“In the final stretch, coming off Suisan Bridge, I was able to catch and pass him with the finish line in site,” Halford said.

Halford, a distance runner for Waiakea High School, had earlier in the month placed third at the HHSAA track & field championships in the 1500 and the junior Warrior stayed in shape over the past few weeks to meet the challenges of EMS event.

“Last year I was 4th overall in this race, but this year I continued to train since the state championship and never really felt tired today,” Jackson said of his winning time of 17 minutes and 14 seconds.

For his hard work Halford was able to shave 14 seconds of his personal best 5K time. 

Shea clocked in at 17:17 with Braswell finishing third in 17:21.

For the women it was Marianne Stone of Orchidland winning in 21:40 over Rosa Erck, 22:20; and Melissa Schad, 22:23.

“We recently moved to Hawaii from Missouri and I was quite surprised that I won,” Stone said.  “It was a very slow time for me as usually my 5K’s are in the sub 20 minute range.”

Stone is expecting to undergo knee surgery next month and hasn’t been running as many miles as she would have liked.

“This was my first run in Hawaii and I’m still in shock that I came in first for the women,” she said.

More than 800 runners and walkers converged at Liliuokalani Gardens on Sunday to take part in the Annual Emergency Medical Services fitness event.

“We had 801 registered participants, a record for this event,” an elated race organizer, Firefighter Jesse Ebersole said.  “All of this is in conjunction with National EMS week held around country where we showcase many of the services that we provide to our community.”

EMS keiki run

Participants had a choice of doing a 2 mile walk or a 3.1 mile competitive run along scenic Hilo Bayfront.  Later in the muggy morning youngsters under the age of 10 had fun doing a non-competitive mini run within the Liliuokalani Park grounds with a bright yellow EMS helicopter taking center stage on the keiki course.

Over the years EMS organizers have raised approximately $80,000 with the money going to help EMS personnel battling cancer.

“This year the money will go to three of our Hawaii Fire Department Firefighters battling cancer and to the American Cancer Society of Hawaii Island,” Ebersole said

The EMS also included a ‘public safety’ division which was open to police, fire, DLNR, corrections and the like employees.

For the second year in a row firefight Ian Smith and DLNR employee Lisa Hadway took top honors.

Smith, who is at the Waikoloa fire department, not only won the Public Safety Division he also won the stroller division as he pushed his 7 month old daughter, Emi, the entire way finishing in 19:54.

Sandwiched between Smith and Hadway was Hawaiian Paradise Park firefighter, Joe Wedemann who clocked in at 22:14.

“I’ve done 9 out of the 11 EMS runs,” Smith said.  “It’s not only a fun event, but it is also for a very good cause.”

Hadway is no stranger to the winner’s podium as she has won the Public Safety Division 5 out of 6 times she has entered.

“I didn’t run the year I was pregnant, in 2009,” she said.  “And last year I pushed a stroller and won both divisions, but this year without the stroller,  my time was 7 minutes faster at 22:27.”

Hadway finished as the fourth overall woman in the race as she looks to be even more competitive without the stroller.

“We’d like to thank the community for coming out strong in support of our event,” Ebersole said.  “We’d also like to thank the many generous sponsors who helped to make the event possible.”

Ebersole cited the LIVESTRONG Foundation who provided wristbands to all the participants and an autographed LIVESTRONG Jersey signed by Lance Armstrong that will be auctioned in September during the Sayre Awards Dinner.

Related link:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/ems-5k-run-301-finishers-top-161-results/

May 30, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Couples that run together have Fun together

Rudy & Noemi Arzaga

Couples that run together have fun together!

A perfect example of this can be found by taking the example of Rudy and Noemi Arzaga.

The couple has known each other for 19 years, been married for nine years and has three children. 

“We didn’t always run together,” Noemi said.  “I was the first one that started and Rudy would actually say that I was crazy.”

Noemi, who is a registered nurse at Hilo Medical Center, was encouraged to start running by coworker Dave Adachi.

“Dave is such a great coach as he encourages me and stayed with me the first time we ran together,” Noemi said.  “I ran very slowly, in fact it wasn’t even running as I barely jogged.”

Between the slow jogging there was lots of walking as Noemi needed to get herself into shape, but it didn’t take long before she was able to jog her first 8 miles with a Sunday running group.

“The first time I tried I could barely do a lap around Liliuokalani Gardens without stopping,” she said.  “But by having someone to help guide me I learned to pace myself and eventually built up my endurance.”

Once Noemi got her confidence level up she then began asking Rudy to try running with her.  “Rudy seemed to have no interest in running at all from the very start,” she said.  “In fact when I would ask him to join our group on the Sunday morning runs Rudy would say ‘you’re crazy’.”

In 2008 Noemi successful completed her first official race when she ran from Pepeekeo to Hilo, a distance of 10.8 miles in pouring rain.

“There was lightning and thunder and the rain never stopped,” Noemi said, “and I heard the never ending ‘you’re crazy’ from Rudy.”

As time went by Rudy began to gain weight and developed high blood pressure problems. 

“Rudy started having eye twitching and he couldn’t bend down much to install heavy cabinets and floor installations,” Noemi said.

Rudy is the owner of JNR Works, LLC where he fabricates custom made cabinets and does floor and tile installation and being physically fit is an important component of his daily duties.

With the start of some health related issues Noemi was able to convince her husband to join her Sunday running group which was headed by Hilo Internist Doctor Aaron Morita.

Their Sunday group is comprised of a number of health care professionals which include Dr.’s David Nakamura, Melanie Arakaki and Eric Helms along with a number of RN’s from the Hilo Medical Center.

It didn’t take long before Rudy discovered his love for running and now he is the one that encourages Noemi to get out and get going.

The couple has developed a love for long distance running with both running in numerous marathons (26.2 miles) over the course of the last several years.

Just this past year Rudy ran and finished five marathons and a half marathon while Noemi completed four half marathons and one full marathon.

“Rudy is more health conscious than me and that is highly visible just by looking at us,” Noemi said.  “I love to eat and I reward myself with food after running.  In fact, food is highly up there as one of my reasons why I run.”

Noemi credits Rudy with her love for food by saying, “he is such a great cook and if I didn’t run or exercise I would probably be double and a half my size by now.”

Rudy is into eating large salads and according to Noemi he has better control than she in eating.

The couple were both born in the Philippines and moved to Hawaii when they were 14 years of age, with Rudy attending Pahoa and Noemi at Hilo High.

“A friend introduced us while we were in high school,” Noemi said.  “Rudy was on the varsity basketball team and I gave cross country an unsuccessful try.”

The couple credits the enormous encouragement they receive from their Sunday running group as the reason for their success and they also give kudos to family members who will care for their children when they go out for a run.

“We have great support from family and friends which make all of this possible,” Rudy said.  “Without their help we wouldn’t have been able to achieve any of our exercise related goals.  We are very blessed to have them in our lives.”

“We take pride with what we both have and God has blessed us with three wonderful children and with having a strong relationship,” Noemi said.

The couple that runs together have fun together which was the lead in this story is very applicable to the Arzaga’s as they share a common bond beyond that of a typical couple.

“We have a unique relationship in which Rudy is my first and only love and I was his first and only as well,” Noemi said.  “We hope to remain that way as we feel the love is strongly growing.”

Rudy and Noemi just completed the Big Island International Marathon on Sunday and are looking to do many more running adventures together.

Big Dog believes that the more fun couples have together the greater their value of self and each other.  The more fun they share with others, the more fun they have and the cycle continues.

And someday should you happen to see a fun loving, healthy, retired teacher jogging around your neighborhood remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”

Email the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com.

March 21, 2011 Posted by | Profiles | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gary Kuroyama Walks Liliuokalani Gardens

Daily walking around Liliuokalani Gardens
Daily walking around Liliuokalani Gardens

There are days when I drive into Hilo to run errands, attend various meetings or to just have lunch with friends.  Often I find gaps in my schedule and I find myself with some free time on my hands.

My favorite way of filling that open period of time is to visit Liliuokalani Gardens and to walk laps around the park.

Not only is this a good way for me to burn some unwanted calories it is also a relaxing method of putting in some additional mileage while taking in the beauty of nature.

We are so fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful spots in the world.  The view from Liliuokalani Gardens is absolutely breathtaking.  Mauna Kea, Hilo Bay, the Gardens itself are all reasons for me to be grateful to be alive.

What’s equally as impressive is the amount of people who take advantage of the area by walking, jogging or biking around the park.  There are couples holding hands while walking, grandparents taking their grandchildren to lunch, mothers jogging around with their baby strollers, all taking in the beauty that surrounds us.

For quite some time now I’ve been seeing this young, senior citizen, walking laps around the park covered from head to toe.  It can be 80 degrees out and he is walking with a jacket, a towel wrapped around his neck and a cap on his head.

On one of my recent trips around the park I decided to stop and talk with him so that I could satisfy my growing curiosity.

Turns out that his name is Gary Kuroyama, a retired state employee who worked as a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist, who is married with two children.

“As you can see, I am covered up,” he told me when we first met.  “I like to sweat when I walk.  It makes me feel good.”

Kuroyama started walking about five years ago and now he does it almost every day.  “I started walking after retirement because I found myself to be at about 175 pounds which is a bit much for my 5’ 6” frame, he said.

Kuroyama will go to the park each day, between 10 am and 2 pm because he enjoys the heat and during that time it provides him the type of workout that he is looking for. “I try to go and walk anywhere from 10 to 20 laps around the park each day,” Kuroyama said.

Now, for those readers that don’t know, one lap around Liliuokalani Gardens is 1K or .6 of a mile and when Kuroyama says he’s doing 10 to 20 laps we’re talking about 6 to 12 miles each day.

Kuroyama also adds lots of stretching to his daily walks.  Doing some gentle stretching prior to his walk and then stretching the key muscle groups after his walk.

When asked if the repetition of walking laps around the park can get boring, Kuroyama replied, “I never get bored walking around the park because of the view.  You get to see the mountains, sometimes snowcapped, the ocean and the greenery of the park.”

“From time to time some people, including my wife, have joined me walking laps around the park.  But most of the time I will walk alone,” he said.  “I can feel the tranquility of the park and feel the cool ocean breeze all at the same time.  The park is also a very beautiful and safe place to be at.”

Kuroyama, who was born and raised in Hilo, tried his hand at little league baseball as a youngster before moving onto judo at age 10.

In 1964 he received his black belt, 1st degree in judo, which allowed him to become an instructor in the sport.

A 1965 graduate of Hilo High School Kuroyama doesn’t really watch what he eats, except for one basic rule.  “I try to stay away from fatty foods or eat them only in moderation,” he said.

Today Kuroyama is a 5th degree black belt in judo as he recently was awarded the rank of Godan.  He serves as the Head Instructor of the Hilo Hongwanji Judo Club and has instructed literally hundreds of students, many of whom are prominent in our community.

In 2006 Kuroyama was inducted in to the Big Island Sports Hall of Fame for his years of service to the community in his instruction of his favorite sport, judo.

“Exercise is important to me because it keeps me healthy,” he said.

For those just starting out with a walking routine Kuroyama offers the following advice, “It is important to not over do it in the beginning, but to take it one step at a time.”

“Some people like to run or jog, for me; I just love to walk for the exercise,” Kuroyama said.

“I’d like to be able to keep on walking for as long as I can.”

June 22, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Profiles | , , | Leave a comment