Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Marathon Maniac, Choy Bacor, Test his Limits

Marathon Maniac Choy Bacor

   I’ve often wondered why some people look for challenges that are extremely difficult, both physically and mentally.

   Running a marathon (26.2-miles) is changeling in itself, but once you’ve conquered that magical distance why go beyond?

   For Hilo’s Choy Bacor running and finishing a marathon in 3 hours and 20 minutes just wasn’t enough as this 30 year old wanted something more.

   Several months ago Bacor learned about a trail run called the Tantalus Trek 50K (31-miles) in Honolulu and decided to give it a try.  As anyone will attest running on trails can be difficult as unsuspecting tree roots and rocks could lead to serious injury.

   “I learned about the Tantalus race about a month prior to the start,” Bacor said.  “It was a very difficult trail race as half the time I was forced to hike.  During the times I was running I had to keep my eyes focused on the trail and I never got to enjoy the views.”

   To compound the problems associated with running the trails of Tantalus Bacor failed to bring the proper gear which added to the difficulty in his trying to finish the race.

  “The beginning of the race is run in the dark and I came unprepared and was forced to keep up with a group of runners that had headlamps and flashlights,” he said.  “I also left my hydration pack for the race in my car in Hilo.”

   Bacor ran the race holding onto one water bottle and needed the assistance of some of the more experienced runners that he had met on the trails.

   “I train on the roads in Hilo and getting to run the trail was a welcome change,” Bacor said.  “The good part about running on trails is that it is more forgiving on the human body.  I loved the challenge that the course presented to me and the confidence I derived from knowing I can run a challenging trail run and survive.”

  Bacor did survive, but only after turning his ankle numerous times, accumulating a number of scratches from the bamboo branches and other trees lining the trails and after taking a hard fall on a slippery rock that bruised his tail bone.

   After 6 hours 19 minutes and 40 seconds Bacor had finished his first trail run and logged in an extremely difficult 31 miles.

   Most people might think that this was the end of the story for Choy Bacor as he would now come back to Hilo to nurse his bruised and tired body. 

   But instead of flying back to Hilo following the Tantalus Trek Run Bacor was on a flight to Kauai where he would, the very next day, run in the Kauai Marathon (26.2-miles).

Choy Bacor

“After doing Tantalus the day before the Kauai Marathon I knew it Kauai going to be much more of a burden on me physically,” Bacor said.  “I heard about how gorgeous the course was on Kauai and I wanted to take it all in.  It was also nice to see so many people from Hilo running it.”

   Bacor decided that he would run and walk the Kauai Marathon and not push the pace in order to allow his body to recover from the day before.

   “I wasn’t in any major pain,” he said.  “My butt hurt a little, but it disappeared once I started running.  My ankles were stiff, but that also subsided once I began to move.  What helped was I didn’t run Tantalus with any speed so my legs were fresh.”

  Bacor finished the Kauai event in 4:48:50 which is quite an accomplishment when you consider that he logged in more than 56 miles over the two day weekend.

  “After the weekend my body wasn’t in any major discomfort,” Bacor said.  “Keeping a consistent active lifestyle enabled me to handle the physical demands of both races.”

  Of course Bacor was in great shape prior to taking on his impressive weekend of races.  Lifting weight, swimming, paddling for Kamehameha Canoe Club and maintaining a 50 mile per week running routine all contributed to his being able to run two extreme distances without any major injuries.

  “Running both races didn’t seem that big of a deal to me at the time,” Bacor said. 

  Two weeks after his strenuous weekend Bacor was out racing again, this time tackling the Maui Marathon.

   “It isn’t a big deal to me because at my age and being a runner I’m supposed to be able to do things like this,” Bacor said of his three distance races.  “I hear stories all the time of people running 100 marathons and finishing 100-mile races and some of these runners are in their 60’s and 70’s.

   “Running means so much to me, it is the ultimate stress reliever,” Bacor said.  “When going for runs by myself I’m able to have moments of clarity and insight.  Stress seems to just brush off my shoulders and I’m able to just focus on the run.  I guess it’s one of those moments that only a distance runner knows.”

   Bacor now has his sights set on making a qualifying time for the 2011 Boston Marathon.

   “I need to run at sub 3 hour 11 minute marathon to qualify for Boston for my age group,” Bacor said.

   With the heart, persistence and discipline that Choy Bacor exhibits I’m sure that he’ll reach his goal of qualifying for and running in his first Boston Marathon.

   Bacor serves as a good example of someone who has focus in maximizing his athletic potential, but he is the exception, not the norm in physical and mental strength.

   Each of us should be striving to do what we can in providing the necessary exercise that our bodies require, which means to get out there and get physically active each day for 30 minutes or more.

   Swim, bike, jog or walk – whatever it takes to get your heart rate up for a prolonged period of time to insure good health for a lifetime.

February 1, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , | 1 Comment

Hilo’s Lani Manatay Living Her Dream

Hilo's Lani Manatay

Having a dream and a passion to do something might take years to realize and for Lani Manatay her desire to someday run a marathon came to be three decades later.

“I started running when I was 12 years old and my dream was to someday run a marathon,” Manatay said.

Growing up on Cebu Island in the Philippines Manatay discovered her love for running and dreamed big dreams for a little girl.  “Since I was a child I loved to run and do nothing else,” she said.

“Running is my passion, there is something about it, the freedom I feel and a piece of mind that comes over me,” Manatay said.

Manatay came to Kauai from the Philippines when she was 15 years old and attended Kapaa High School.  During her school days she got involved in Girl Scouts and played a little basketball.

As a young adult she met and married a Big Island radio personality and began to raise a family.

Five children later Manatay felt a little uncomfortable with her body and decided to make a serious commitment to regular physical exercise.

“After the birth of my fifth child I joined a gym and began working out regularly,” she said.  “I go to the gym every day after work, at around 6:30 pm and will work out till 8 pm. “I’ll do running strides, in the gym, and the elliptical machine and I will do hills while increasing the speed.”

Manatay will also lift weights, doing dumbbell curls, so that her upper body will be strong while working the shoulders.

This mother of five also plays softball, volleyball, swim and free dive and has now added tennis, twice a week to her exercise routine.

Manatay starts each morning with a 30 minute run around her neighborhood, before getting ready for work, at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel where she puts in a full day of physical work on her feet.

“On work days I will wake up at 4:30 am and be out of the house around 5:30 to run on the road until 6 or 6:30,” she said.  “Then I need to be at work by 7:50 am.”

Manatay crossing the finish line Kauai Marathon

After work Manatay heads for the gym where her total daily work out time can last three hours.  On weekends she will increase her work out time on the roads and in the gym so that her daily total adds up to four hours.

“I run about 45 miles a week, and I wish I could run more and train more,” Manatay said.  “Six days a week I will run, rain or shine, on the road and then I will add more time after work in the gym.”

Manatay is also learning yoga and has added “home shoulder yoga” to her regimen.

“I prepared myself for the marathon by running in the Volcano 10-miler, three times,” Manatay said.  “I also run 13 miles on my days off and then I will go and run another 10-miles on the machines in the gym.”

And what has become of her childhood dream to run a marathon (26.2-miles)?  Well, in 2009 Manatay not only achieved her dream of becoming a marathon finisher, but this 39 year old went on to complete the Hilo, Kona and Kauai Marathons.

On Sunday Manatay finished another full 26.2-mile run by doing the Honolulu Marathon, for a total of four marathons in one year.

“Training for my marathons is my whole lifetime goal,” she said.  “I am living my childhood dream.”

Manatay success in fulfilling her dream didn’t come easily as she had to preserver in her efforts to balance family and work in order to find the time necessary to do the training.

“Running is the kind of sport you can do alone and on your own time,” she said.  “I love the feeling of running in the mornings before I go to work.  I love to run because it can get me through anything in life.  I do it because it keeps me focused on my life.”

After four marathons, what could be next for Manatay?  “Next year I’d like to do the Maui Marathon,” she said.

December 21, 2009 Posted by | Marathon Running, Profiles, Running on the Big Island | , , , | 2 Comments