Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

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. 


“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.


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

Army Birthday 5K run/walk results from Hilo event

Photo of Warrior 3-miler. Results posted is of Army Birthday 5K

AMARAL, DUSTIN 136 28.57.63
ARMSTRONG, JAMES 10 43.05.98
AYSON, GINO 21 22.48.94 
BIELMANN, JESSE 19 21.17.23
BREAR, JOHN 23 22.40.41 
BROOKS, CHARLES 137 50.54.01
CLARIN, LIEZEL 117 58.04.33
CONARTON, CHE 113 58.02.88
COOKE, MILLIE 29 28.06.23
CUNNINGHAM, DARIA 106 33.51.85
DAVIS, JAZZIRAE 32 35.13.24
DESILVA, MABEL 121 59.06.90
DEVILLE, DARLA 111 52.44.36
ERICKSON, JOHN 15 28.27.03
FREITAS, KELLY 9 24.38.59
FUATA, BENEDICT 2 41.24.46
FUNAI, ERIC 128 45.03.78
FUNAI, JESSICA 101 50.46.09
GRANT, KAWIKA 138 51.24.55
GUENTHOER, JAMES 126 27.56.17
HIRATA, ETHAN 25 49.05.07
HOLLEY, SIMON 141 55.29.45
HOLLEY, TERI 112 55.21.73
HUNTER, LORY 34 22.57.23
HUNTER, STEPHEN 51 24.10.15 
IMAI, JAMIE 135 1 07 14 11
KURAMOTO, MARIE 107 34.06.76
LOZANO, ZORBA 16 23.45.65
MAKUA, BETTY 109 41.39.33
MAKUA, MALCOLM 14 41.10.07
MARQUEZ, CHEVIS 129 50.33.02
MOORE, BILL 132 42.42.61
MYRIANTHIS, CAROL 114 57.46.18
NE, ALBERT 8 31.13.43
OKAMURA, KEVIN 11 24.42.44
OKUYAMA, JUSTIN 13 24.53.29
PALMERSTON, DAWN 35 33.29.09
PALTIN, SAMUEL 134 57.47.24
PIANO, MALIA 31 35.14.09
PUKAHI, LEAH 33 34.33.60
RAFFIPIY, KAAI 7 40.58.12
RAFFIPIY, MARCIE 103 26.19.17 
ROBERTS, MARCUS 24 49.04.05
RYAN, ALAN 22 19.39.14
SANTIAGO, GREG 131 46.39.97
SHIGEOKA, DENNIS 12 33.32.78
SOARES, NATHEL 20 26.50.07
TAM, KEAOPUA 28 34.28.28
TANIMOTO, VIOLET 30 57.48.54
TELLIO, JARED 139 54.01.83
TROUTMAN, MARY 122 59.04.69
YANO, ALLISON 4 41.17.63

June 12, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Original Hilo Marathon (1975-1987) Remembered

Marie Kuramoto with her original 1986 Hilo Marathon award

A few weeks ago I wrote a story about Michael Georgi, a three time winner of the Big Island International Marathon, and his return to Hilo to run in the 13th Annual 26.2-mile race.

   In that Georgi story I mentioned that he ran the original Hilo Marathon three times during the 1980’s and in 1985 Georgi won the race with an amazing time of 2 hours 32 minutes and 4 seconds.  I wrote that the course was never certified and may have been a little short, which according to Bob Culnan, is incorrect.

  “I thought you would like to know that the Hilo Marathon of the 80’s was certified,” Culnan said.  “I did the bike riding with the calibration wheel in 1984 and received a handmade ‘Outstanding Volunteer’ certificate for the measuring and marking of the 10th Annual Big Island Marathon and Half-Marathon.”

Bob Culnan

Culnan’s volunteer certificate was signed by the 1984 race director, Laurie Lannan, along with signatures by Judy and Lee Howard, Betty Healy, Donald Romero and Cher Hillier.

   Culnan remembers that the original Big Island Marathon started and finished on Banyan Drive, went through Pu’ueo, by the community college, then around Banyan out to Keaukaha, back around Banyan and out to Bayfront then had one more loop to Keaukaha with the finish line in the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel’s parking lot.

   The original Hilo Marathon race went on for 13 years, from 1975 to 1987, and attracted some of the most famous Hawaii runners of the day.

   People like Harry Yoshida, Stewart Miyashiro, Bob Standard, Bob Hillier, Andy Levin, Connie Comiso, Rueben Chappins, John Kelly, Giovanni Bartolini, Paul Ryan, and Hilo’s own Marie Kuramoto and Mille Cooke were in their heyday of running.

   “I remember pacing Harry Yoshida on my bike to the winning time and the first Big Islander to finish,” Culnan said.  “In 1984 I also measured a half marathon (13.1-miles) course which became part of the race.”

   Culnan can also recall escorting on his bike Georgi, Yoshida, Bob Hillier and Connie Comiso to wins.  “After the Hilo Bike Club stopped their volunteering I took over and can remember escorting Connie to her only sub 3 hour race,” he said.  (Comiso, a nurse from Honolulu, set the women’s course record in 1985 with a time of 2 hours 59 minutes and 27 seconds.)

   Many other participants had fond memories of Hilo’s hometown race of yesteryear, but some of the details were a bit fuzzy with the passing of 30 years.

   “I still have the award I won in 1986 that states 12th Annual on it,” Marie Kuramoto said.  “I have a photo of us ladies, all five of us, receiving this pretty Big Island carving just for participating in the marathon.”

   Key people that helped put together the marathon race during the 70’s and 80’s were then Big Island Road Runner club officers Dwayne Kanuha, Larry “Fats” Loa, Jerry Hirata, Don Romero, Nick Baligit and Don Ahuna.

   “We saw three different phases of this race,” Hirata said.  “Different people came forward and helped during different periods of time, most of them are now long gone.”

   Part of the stimulus for the marathon getting organized in Hilo came during the mid ‘70s with the popularity of the Carol Kai bed races that were partly sponsored by the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel and had the support of Lorraine Inouye, known as Lorraine Jitchaku back then.

   “The bed race in Hilo was an original for the neighbor island,” Inouye said.  “The activities (for the bed race) were the same as the ones on Oahu and it brought some business into the hotel. The course ran from Banyan, near the HELCO plant and ended at the intersection of the entrance near Coconut Island.”

   Inouye, at the time, was the Assistant Manager and Director of Sales for the Big Island Properties of Hawaiian Pacific Resorts, which included the Hilo Lagoon, Hilo Hawaiian and Kona Lagoon Hotels.

   “We were looking for different activities that would bring more visitors to the Big Island and decided to sponsor the Big Island Marathon,” Inouye said.

   Inouye, although not the race director, spent lots of time during the early years helping to organize the race.

   “I can remember Lorraine and I staying up in the middle of the night folding T-shirts and assigning running numbers,” Bob Quitiquit said of his late 1970’s involvement.  “It was a lot of work and during its peak we must have had around 600 total runners.”

   The race, which was held in July of each year, had its growing pains with a slow start, a peak in the early ‘80’s before suddenly dropping off in numbers with a loss of interest by 1987.

   In the 1987 race, won by Hilo’s Robert Standard in 2:39:07, only 53 marathoners crossed the finish line which marked the end of an era.

   “I still have fond memories of the Big Island Marathon,” Kuramoto said.  “In 1982 it became the first marathon I ever did along with Millie Cooke and it was such a thrill for me.  I love running in my home town.”

   Kuramoto is the only woman to have run all of the current 13 Big Island International Marathons and at 60 plus years of age shows no signs of letting up.

   “I may be getting slower, since those early days, but I have the endurance to continue running marathons,” she said.

   “The original Hilo Marathon was my first back in 1982 as I had just started running at that time,” Kuramoto said.  “I can’t believe that 25 to 30 years has already passed me by.”

May 10, 2010 Posted by | Marathon Running, Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Four Ways to Keep Kids Moving

Marathon runner, Marie Kuramoto, leads by example

1. Lead by Example.  When it comes to exercise, an adult couch potato effectively nurtures a child couch potato, who then becomes yet another adult couch potato years down the road – a vicious cycle of inactivity that increases disease risk. Fortunately, the opposite is also true, so get off the couch and show your kids the value of an active life filled with physical activity.

2. Unplug for Awhile.  Hours on end of TV, video games, and even phone and computer “activities” like instant messaging, chat rooms and other pursuits leave very little time for exercise. While there’s no easy solution, establishing a daily time limit on these activities is a great start.

3. Find the Time.  When we’re young, we spend hours in the yard or on school grounds playing our favorite games; then we slowly get more and more responsibilities and somehow, the time just seems to disappear. It happens quickly, right around the time daily homework comes along. What can you do about it? It’s the same advice, whether young or old: Find the time. Pencil physical activity into your child’s daily schedule and don’t let “life” ever erase it.

4. Make It Fun.  Too often, exercise becomes more of a chore than a pleasing activity, and this often begins at an early age, basically as soon as children get involved in the rigors of organized sports. Sure, it’s never all fun and games, but exercise shouldn’t be a dreaded activity, not if you do it right. Be creative and teach children that active is fun at any age.

April 7, 2010 Posted by | Health and Fitness | | 3 Comments

Big Island Marathon – New Photos and More

Start of the 13th annual BIIM

Happy Finisher

More than 600 photos were taken during the 13th annual event.  If anyone would like to receive a copy simply add a comment to this post, leaving your overall finishing time and your running number.

Once I locate the photo I will email it to you free of charge.

Thank you for participating and remember to sign up early for next years March 20, 2011 race as it will again be sold out.

Finisher medals await you

Cowman completes all 13 BII marathonsMarie Kuramoto, DJ Blinn, David Hammes and Cowman are the only four people to have done all 13 Big Island Marathons. Award Ceremonies with medals presented by Hula Girls

Awards are presented to the top three overall winners, male and female, plus the top three in each five year age group.


April 2, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , | 20 Comments