Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Big Island Road Runners gave over $16,000 in scholarships over the years



YEAR                 MALE                                          FEMALE

2006         Stefano Barbis – Hilo                 Malia Williams – Hilo

2007        Eamon Harriy – Kona                 Sarah Chitwood – Hilo

                Keoni Ucker – CLA (50%)

2008      Nick Hagemann – Keaau             Jamilia Epping – Keaau

              Nick Ucker- CLA (50%)

2009     Bryce Harada – Waiakea              Amy Eriksson – Keaau

                                                               Kaitlyn Yamamoto-Kamehameha (50%)

2010    Sai Weiss – Hilo                            Kaitlyn Chock – Waiakea

2011   Rogelio Barroga – Keaau                Hana Scully – HPA

2012   Robert Connors – Honokaa           Deann Nishimura-Thornton – Keaau

                                                                   Kelsie Kobayashi – Waiakea (50%)

The money for the BIRR scholarships was provided by Richard and Virginia Alderson.   Each year the BIRR five member scholarship committee reviews the numerous applications to made the awards.


June 26, 2012 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gillette wins 4th Kona Marathon – Top 50 Overall Results

The 18th Annual Kona Marathon
June 26, 2011 – Kona, Hawaii

TOP 50 Overall Results – Marathon     Plc Name                      Division     Residence            Time   

Justin Gillette

  1Justin Gillette #4        20 – 29      Berne, IN           2:34:41  05:54

 2 Hiroyuki Nishimura #317   40 – 49      Chiba, Japan        2:52:16  06:34

 3 Brian Hayes #75           30 – 39      Kaneohe, HI         2:58:37  06:49

 4 Tadashi Morishima #316    40 – 49      Kanagawa, Japan     3:01:11  06:54

 5 Douglas Stevenson #76     Military     Honolulu, HI        3:01:24  06:55

 6 Valeria Sesto #154        30 – 39    F Lymington, England  3:05:44  07:05

 7 Matthias Wulf #103        20 – 29      Hilo, HI            3:09:11  07:13

 8 Melissa Gillette #3       20 – 29    F Berne, IN           3:09:27  07:13

 9 Jake Gillette #5          20 – 29      Goshen, IN          3:11:04  07:17

10 Laura Gillette #6         20 – 29    F Goshen, IN          3:13:15  07:22

11 Satoshi Setoguchi #296    40 – 49      Chiba, Japan        3:13:17  07:22

12 Daniel Hodel #60          60 – 69      Kailua-Kona, HI     3:13:38  07:23

13 Kimura Yasuto #260        40 – 49      Chiyoda-Ku,tokyo,   3:15:17  07:27

14 Satoshi Takewaka #223     40 – 49      Tsukuba, Japan      3:19:34  07:37

15 Jorge Renjifo #220        Military     Kailua, HI          3:20:01  07:38

16 David Uri #262            40 – 49      Bend, OR            3:20:47  07:39

17 Jason Thorp #13           40 – 49      Waikoloa, HI        3:22:13  07:43

18 Derik Takai #359          40 – 49      Pearl City, HI      3:23:42  07:46

19 Lisa Fink #119            40 – 49    F Valencia, CA        3:24:55  07:49

 20 Rudolph Sanchez #168      40 – 49      Austin, TX          3:25:32  07:50

 21 Michael Miller #243       Military     Honolulu, HI        3:25:38  07:50

22 Melyn Vigilla #231        40 – 49      Keaau, HI           3:25:45  07:51

23 Johnny Landeza #12        40 – 49      Aiea, HI            3:25:52  07:51

24 Maria Clementi #244       20 – 29    F Chicago, IL         3:25:58  07:51

25 Jeffrey Fong #11          30 – 39      Honolulu, HI        3:26:49  07:53

26 Kyla Dickerson #213       30 – 39    F Sherman Oaks, CA    3:32:03  08:05

27 Tomotsugu Goto #351       30 – 39      Honolulu, HI        3:32:07  08:05

28 Nathan Skipper #47        40 – 49      Ellenwood, GA       3:33:18  08:08

29 Andrew Stenovich #340     30 – 39      Kapaa, HI           3:34:25  08:11

30 Michael Garrison #205     40 – 49      Honolulu, HI        3:34:39  08:11

31 Scott Roberts #338        40 – 49      Benton City, WA     3:35:36  08:13

32 Stefano Barbis #248       20 – 29      Hilo, HI            3:36:46  08:16

33 Herman Rafol #188         50 – 59      Kailua Kona, HI     3:37:48  08:18

34 Stephen Watson #112       30 – 39      Toowong, Australia  3:38:28  08:20

35 Angela Brunson #100       30 – 39    F Los Angeles, CA     3:40:33  08:25

36 Jonathan Phillips #185    30 – 39      Houston, TX         3:42:58  08:30

37 James Nies #82            Military     Fpo                 3:43:01  08:30

38 Joel Axler #212           40 – 49      Flagstaff, AZ       3:45:58  0:37

39 Mark Essenberg #228       Military     Pearl City, HI      3:46:00  08:37

40 Raj Patel #156            40 – 49      Tulsa, OK           3:46:05  08:37

41 Doug Andrews #199         30 – 39      Kailua Kona, HI     3:46:22  08:38

42 Chad Uyehara    #36          30 – 39      Honolulu, HI        3:47:52  08:41

43 Yuka Hagiwara #214        40 – 49    F Saitama-Shi, Japan  3:48:51  08:44

44 Nicholas Ah Yo ii #85     30 – 39      Pepeekeo, HI        3:49:11  08:44

45 Tanya Gusarchuk #25       20 – 29    F Kailua-Kona, HI     3:50:15  08:47

46 Lyle Balingit #204        30 – 39      Pepeekeo, HI        3:50:17  08:47

47 Mason Akers #211          30 – 39      Hilo, HI            3:50:53  08:4

 48 J Ashford #55             50 – 59      Waikoloa, HI        3:50:59 8:48

49 Nick Selway #27           20 – 29      Kailua Kona, HI     3:51:00  08:49

50 Yen Ong #26               20 – 29    F Boulder, CO         3:52:34  08:52

June 28, 2011 Posted by | Marathon Running | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grassroot support growing to save UHH cross country program

Some members of the UHH women’s cross country team

“It is a sad day when UH Hilo cuts the only sport that has a connection to traditional Hawaiian culture (makahiki),” Kamehameha chemistry teacher Joel Truesdell said.

Truesdell is referring to the latest announcement from the Vulcan athletic department to cut both the men’s and women’s cross country programs in order to meet the projected 10 percent budget deficit.

“It shows a lack of sensitivity or awareness to the cultural basis of sport in our Hawaiian community,” Truesdell said.  “All we are left with are imported games.”

Along with being a teacher at the Kamehameha-Keaau campus Truesdell is also the head women’s cross country coach for the Warriors and an advocate for distance running.

The UHH cross country program is a non revenue generating sport and, like most business decisions, found itself at the bottom of the priority list and at the top of the chopping block of UHH Athletic Director Dexter Irvine.

“Our kids are devastated,” UHH cross country coach Jaime Guerpo said.  “I broke the news to them a few days ago and since that time we’ve been looking at ways to try to come up with the $100,000 needed each year to keep us going.”

Guerpo has been coaching the cross country program at UHH since 1999 and has taken a budget cut ever year.

“I feel it’s my duty to keep the program going,” Guerpo said.  “I understand that the administration had to make the cuts to keep the athletic program going and we’ve always made do with what we got and have produced a very successful program.”

Guerpo is even willing to coach the team without compensation if it would help salvage the program.

“I’d give up my pay in a heartbeat if that is what it would take to keep this program going,” he said.  “We’re looking at all sorts of ways to help keep cross country alive at UHH.”

Over the years Guerpo had heavily recruited local athletes from around the state to run on his men’s and women’s teams.

Currently Christian Liberty’s Justin Pang, Keoni and Nick Ucker, Keaau’s Nick Hagemann and Liliana DeSmither, Kau’s Kapua Lapera, Waiakea’s James Imai, and Hilo’s Stefano Barbis are members of the team.

Several of the current and former UHH cross country runners were winners of the Big Island Road Runners scholarship.

“We were all in shock when Coach Jaime broke the news to us a few days ago,” Imai said.  “We’re still hoping we can find a way to keep the programs alive.”

The BIRR, along with the Big Island International Marathon, Honolulu Marathon, and Big Island Running Company have all been contacted to lend their support towards helping to keep running alive at UHH.

These UHH runners have also been highly visible in the community, often found at the finish lines of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation cross country and track and field finish lines as they help give back to the sport in which they love dearly.

Guerpo and his runners have also been strong support/volunteers at Hawai’i Island Special Olympics and numerous County Parks and Recreation track and field meets as they serve as strong role models for our community.

“We also help out with the Big Island Marathon each year by setting up hundreds of cones and barricades along the 26.2 mile course at 3:00 a.m. and then collecting and returning them when the event is over,” Guerpo said.

“The UHH cross country team are not self-promoters, but are contributors in ways that are not always recognized in public forums,” Faith Nance, the cross country representative on the Vulcan Athletic Club said.

“Many of the talented high school runners who choose to remain at home have the opportunity to continue to participate in a sport that can become a lifelong avocation and a strong foundation for a healthy lifestyle,” Nance said.

Dozens of emails poured into the Big Dog’s mail box in support of looking at ways of keeping the cross country program alive at UH Hilo.

 “At least UH Manoa gets it,” Truesdell said.  “They have a full complement of the sports that are traditionally based such as cross country, track and field, swimming and sailing.”  

The UHH athletic department made their decision to cut cross country without getting community input which has many local residents upset because they feel they are stake holders in higher education.

“It seems to me that UH Hilo should reach out to the community before making this decision,” Truesdell said.  “The people here will take care of their own if given the opportunity or challenge.”

Guerpo continues to look over a variety of scenarios to see if something can be salvaged.

Vulcan runners support many local community races

“If we have to give something up then I’d like to see the women’s team saved as this would at least come into Title 9 compliance of gender equity, “Guerpo said.

 If the UHH decision makers were to come to BIIF cross country meet they would see the connections.  Keeping a sport like this will maintain and strengthen ties to the community that are priceless.

“A University’s cross country program provides a valuable benefit not only to the team members, but also to the entire university and surrounding community by inspiring everyone to get more active,” Jason Braswell, owner of the Big Island Running Company said.

“Collegiate cross country is particularly inspirational to middle school and high school students who get to see where their running can lead them,” Braswell said.

With the continued growth of the Big Island International Marathon and BIIF cross county programs the continuation of a university running team would be responding to the interest of a growing segment of our community.

We all hope that Athletic Director Dexter Irvin will reconsider his decision to cut an important sports program and instead become part of the solution in promoting something that has deep seeded roots in our culturally based community.

If anyone in the community would like to help save the UHH cross country program please contact the Big Dog at waiakeabigdog@aol.com or call 969-7400.

Related link:  https://waynejoseph.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/uhh-athletics-suspends-cross-country-cheerleading-press-release/

April 18, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

UHH to cut Men’s & Women’s Cross Country Programs

 UHH to eliminate men’s & women’s cross country:  Inside sources have leaked that the athletic department, under Dexter Irvin, is looking to make 10 percent budget cuts in the 2011 – 2012 season.Irvin and his staff have decided to eliminate, or suspend for two years, the men’s and women’s cross country program.Getting rid of cross country would save the Vulcan athletic department approximately $100,000 per year which would fit into the goal of reducing cost by 10 percent.Cross country is a non revenue producing sport and the UHH athletic department is looking at ways of increasing revenue.Many of our local runners have gone onto run at the collegiate level at UHH under Coach Jaime Guerpo who has recruited heavily within the state.

Keoni and Nick Ucker, along with Justin Pang formerly of Christian Liberty Academy; James Imai from Waiakea, Nick and Nina Hagemann of Keaau, Stefano Barbis and Milia Williams from Hilo, are just a few of the many talented local runners that Guerpo had recruited in recent years.

The athletic department is more concerned with high profile sports that can generate revenue as sports such as cross country, golf and tennis may be on its way out.

Coach Guerpo hasn’t given up and will be presenting a variety of options to the UHH athletic department.  If you’d like to help you can write letters to the UHH athletic department and address it to Mr. Dexter Irvine.

I hope the program can somehow be salvaged. 

April 14, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Weiss and Chock win BIRR Scholarship

Sai Weiss

A few days ago members of the Big Island Road Runners scholarship committee met to look over the many applications sent in by prep runners seeking the one of two $1000 cash awards that is to be presented this year.

   Thanks, in part, to a generous gift provided by Richard and Virginia Alderson the BIRR, since 2006, have been giving away cash scholarships to at least two deserving high school seniors from the Big Island.

   Past winners include:

  2006 – Hilo’s Stefano Barbis and Malia Williams

  2007 – Hilo’s Sarah Chitwood and Konawaena’s Eamon Harrity with a half scholarship to Christian Liberty’s Keoni Ucker

   2008 – Keaau’s Nick Hagemann and Jamilia Epping with a half scholarship to CLA’s Nick Ucker

   2009 – Keaau’s Amy Eriksson and Waiakea’s Bryce Harada with a half scholarship to Kamehameha’s Kaitlyn Yamamoto

   What is impressive is that all of the past awardees were scholar athletes and most went on to run cross-country in college.

   Barbis, Williams, Hagemann, and both Ucker’s currently run for Jaime Guerpo and the University of Hawaii at Hilo Vulcan’s, while Yamamoto was a walk on at UH Manoa this past season and claimed the important number seven spot for the Rainbows.

   This year the scholarship committee chaired by Big Dog, with voting members Dano Banks, Joseph Kamelamela and the Alderson’s meet to look over the qualified applicants and read over their essays on how running has influenced their lives.

   “It wasn’t an easy decision,” Virginia Alderson said.  “There were many good applicants who are scholar athletes that have been involved in many community service projects.”

    After careful review the scholarship committee selected Hilo’s Sai Weiss and Waiakea’s Kaitlyn Chock.

   Both Weiss and Chock ran cross-country and track all four years at their respective schools and both are academically gifted with Weiss carrying a 3.5 grade point average and Chock a 3.9 GPA.

Kaitlyn Chock

Besides running Weiss is also a 1st degree black belt in Aikido.  “Sai has been our aikido student since he was about 8 years old,” Sensei Robert Klein said.  “To understand the context of his accomplishment, in the thirty years our dojo has existed, there have only been three teens who received a black belt from us while still in high school.”

   Chock is also a gifted athlete winning Waiakea’s Most Outstanding Athlete award in cross-country and track for the past two years.  The multi talented Warrior also helped anchor her swim team in both relay events.

   Both Weiss and Chock are Key Club members and have chaired various community activities from helping with the Big Island International Marathon, to volunteering with Special Olympics track & field events.

   “We are so pleased that there are so many fine young and men and women in our public school system and Sai and Kaitlyn are two fine examples,” Richard Alderson said.

   “The only problem we have had with Sai over the years is that sometimes he can’t attend our aikido class and events because he’s busy with those troublesome track meets,” Sensei Klein said with a smile.

   Weiss has been accepted to Southern Oregon University and Chock will be attending the University of Oregon, Robert D. Clark Honor’s College.

   “I am very surprised and humbled by this scholarship,” Weiss said.  “The money will help finance my education and I would like to thank my coaches, parents and fellow athletes in helping me get to where I am today.”

   Weiss plans on majoring on Environmental Studies and Business while Chock plans on entering Liberal Arts.

   “I’m excited that I was selected for this scholarship,” Chock said.  “Thanks to my Dad as he has always been my motivation to try hard.”

   The BIRR which was founded as a nonprofit organization in 1973 has been promoting health and fitness through running and walking events in East Hawaii will recognize Weiss and Chock in a formal ceremony at the end of their Scholarship 5K (3.1-mile) fun run/walk on Sunday, May 23.

   The Scholarship Run/Walk starts at 7:30 am near the entrance to the Moku Ola (Coconut Island) parking area. 

May 4, 2010 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment