Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Big Islanders Gearing Up for the Honolulu Marathon on Sunday

Davin Padilla

On Sunday morning than 200 Big Island residents will be getting up before the crack of dawn to run the Honolulu Marathon, many of them for the very first time.

The Honolulu Marathon has become the launching ground for many first time marathoners. More than 40 percent of the more than 22,000 people toeing the starting line will be doing their maiden 26.2 mile run, walk, jog or crawl in the pre dawn hours.

“My expectations for this first marathon is to essentially do my personal best, to perform as well as, if not better than on practice runs,” Hilo’s Davin Padilla.

Padilla is a math teacher at Hilo Intermediate School where he teaches 8th grade pre-algebra.

“I was inspired by my principal, Esther Kanehailua, whose first marathon was in Honolulu a couple of years ago,” Padilla said.

Since July 2010 Padilla has logged a total of 804 miles over 129 activities.

“Of those 804 miles, 401 miles were done over 44 activities from my 33rd birthday in June of this year till now leading up to Honolulu,” Padilla said.


Padilla’s friend and training partner, Trudy Sleightholm, will be joining him in the race, but Sleightholm will be doing her second consecutive Honolulu.

“When I did the race last year I didn’t know what to expect, but now I’ll be better prepared,” she said.  “I really just love the time outside running, taking in all the awesome scenery and enjoying time with friends who share the same passion as I do.”

Sleightholm is anxious about doing her second marathon in Honolulu as she will be joined by numerous friends.

“I am so excited to run this year’s race, more friends are doing it and taking a liking to the runners high,” she said with a grin.

This year, with a little more experience under her belt, Sleightholm decided to train harder for the marathon challenge.

“I’ve been running six times a week and I did longer runs,” she said.  “I ran three 19 milers and I did a 20 miler and two 21 milers.  I kept my mileage higher to stay stronger.”

Padilla made his marathon announcement on Facebook for all of his friends to see.

“I’m not trying to boast,” he said.  “The announcement was a way to keep myself accountable.  I know I have the heart and drive to do it.”

Cheryl Kiefer
Dove George

Cheryl Kiefer of Keaau will also be trying a marathon for the first time.

“I’m doing the Honolulu Marathon because it’s been a goal of mine to do a marathon before I turn 60,” Kiefer said.  “I’ll be 60 the day after Christmas, so this is the year to fulfill my dream and my goal.”

Kiefer will be joined at the race by her daughter, Dove George.

“Dove and I plan to do the race together, as she is doing it for my birthday,” Kiefer said. “We are planning on just walking as neither of us has ever done a marathon.”

“I’m doing it because it is my mom’s birthday and it is hard to say NO to my mom,” George said.  “I am not excited about doing 26.2 miles, as I’m dreading it actually.  I’ll try to stay with her for as long as I can as this is the only reason for me to it.”

As for a goal George is just hoping to finish the race with no after effects.

“I’m just hoping that I won’t be super sore the next week,” George said.  “I’ll try to run part of it just to get it over with faster, but will stay with my mom no matter what.”

Joe & Veronica Wedemann

The marathon usually drains all the energy out of a runner by mile 22 and for those that didn’t properly train there will be a slow walk up Diamond Head on their way to the finish line at Kapiolani Park, according to Hawaiian Paradise Park Firefighter, Joe Wedemann.

Wedemann should know as he has finished 11 marathons with a personal best time of 3 hours and 24 minutes.

“To avoid hitting the wall runners would have needed to prepare properly by running a 20 or 22 miler four to five weeks prior to race day,” Wedemann said.

Wedemann will be joined by his wife Veronica who will be doing her fourth marathon with a personal best time of 4:10.

“I enjoy doing this race, primarily because my wife is in it,” Wedemann said.  “We did some long training runs together and we enjoy the time we spend running as quality time.”

Wedemann advises first time marathoners to relax during the opening miles of the race.

“Probably the most important advice to a first time marathoner is for them not to go out too fast in the first 6 miles, so that they can have some gas in the tank for the last 6 miles,” he said.

Veronica Wedemann prepared throughout the year to run the marathon.  She built up her mileage during the past six months to avoid the misery which is accompanied by hitting that invisible wall.

“My training throughout the year was 5 to 10 miles per week and I built up to 45 miles per week in the six months prior to race day,” she said.

“I like the Honolulu Marathon because with so many people doing it I can get distracted and forget how much pain I am in,” she said.  “This year I am hoping to finish around 4 hours 30 minutes.”

The race has generated more than $100 million in economic impact for Hawaii each of the last six years and is totally self-supporting, receiving no subsidy from the Hawaii Tourism Authority according to marathon media consultant Pat Bigold.

“We are the 10th largest marathon in the world and last year we had 20,168 finishers,” Bigold said. 

This year’s race is expected to exceed 24,000 in registration and of that number 8,879 will be first time marathoners with nearly 6,000 of those coming from Japan, according to Bigold.

The Honolulu Marathon will provide a complete list of Honolulu Marathon finishers to the Tribune which will be published in a timely manner.

December 10, 2011 Posted by | Running on the Big Island | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wedemann’s Amazing Adventure

Fire Fighter, Joe Wedemann, goal setter and good friend

Fire Fighter, Joe Wedemann, goal setter and good friend

Dr. Joseph Murphy said, “Our subconscious mind can be compared to a garden – if we leave it unattended, the weeds will grow wild.”

    Setting goals in our everyday lives is a great destroyer of those “weeds” and helps us develop a healthy “garden.”

    Longtime friend and County of Hawaii Firefighter, Joe Wedemann, is a great example of a person that is constantly setting goals for himself and acting on them.

   I’ve known Wedemann from his humble days when he worked in the jewelry department at Liberty House that was once located in the Prince Kuhio Plaza.

   Wedemann set a goal then of making into the Fire Department and fulfilling a childhood dream.  This was no easy task for a man in his 30’s, at the time, but Wedemann persevered and overcame obstacles to make it.

   During his pre fire department days Wedemann recruited me to help him run his first marathon, a 26.2-mile effort, as we spent many weekends running from our homes in Paradise Park, out to the Mall, and back to HPP again.

   After achieving a series of successful marathons Wedemann set his sights on qualifying and then finishing, his first Ironman World Triathlon.  He has since completed three Ironman’s.

   So it was no surprise for me when I heard that this 40 something year old had decided to do a bike ride around the Big Island in a single day, a distance of 215 miles.

   Wedemann set his goal date for Father’s Day and had spent all his days off from the department to go on long rides in preparation for his adventure.

   Several of Wedemann’s friends volunteered to ride part of the way with him as they would provide support along the route.

   The group of five gathered at Hilo Bayfront on Father’s Day at 3 a.m. “We got rolling at 3:20 a.m. and started smelling the sweet smell of pancake syrup and bacon as we passed Ken’s Pancake House,” Wedemann said.

   “I was surprised to see so many cars in the parking lot of Ken’s.  The weather was nice all the way up to Glenwood where we were treated to some London style fog and a light drizzle as the sun attempted to break through.”

    Wedemann was joined initially by fellow riders Adam Busek, Jeremy Butts, Robert Van Geen and Michael Hrynevych.

    “We all stayed together to the 30 mile marker where we had a brief stop for water.  Jeremy (Butts) said aloha at that point as he planned on keeping us company to Volcano,” Wedemann said.

Working out on a stationary bike, Joe Wedemann is in picture perfect health
Working out on a stationary bike, Joe Wedemann is in picture perfect health

    Along the way Wedemann was joined by friend Mark Mangabin and Tanner Whitman who followed in a support vehicle as they supplied the water and nutrition for Wedemann and his friends.

    “Descending down from Pahala was pretty effortless until we reached Whittington Beach Park, just before Naalehu,” Wedemann said.

   Wedemann reached Naalehu around 7 a.m. and the decent from Volcano to Pahala would be the last real break of the day.

   “Once we got into Pahala it was getting pretty hot and the eventual steep hills began to separate the rest of the guys riding with me,” he said.

   At 125 miles Busek was the only rider left with Wedemann as the duo had ridden together up through Holualoa.  “Once we hit Palani Adam (Busek) left, as he was meeting his wife for lunch in Kailua.”

   Wedemann rode solo up to Waimea, all the while battling the high gust of winds most of the way uphill.

   “After a short bathroom break in Waimea, my friend, Alan Ryan joined me for the last 56 miles to Hilo.  At this point I was getting pretty tired.  Thank God the winds started to subside,” Wedemann said.

   Wedemann reached Hilo Bayfront at 6:30 p.m. just before the pouring rain.  “Thank God for giving me the strength, ability, motivation, and my wife (Veronica) who continues to surprise me with her loving support for me and my adventures,” Wedemann said after his amazing ride.

   I admire people with goals that keep raising the bar on themselves in an effort to enjoy life and to utilize their gifts to their fullest potential.

  “People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.  It’s as simple as that,” Earl Nightingale wrote.

  Joe Wedemann is just an average person with an amazing appetite to challenge himself far beyond what most of us would consider reasonable.

July 27, 2009 Posted by | Health and Fitness, Profiles | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments