Friday, March 22, 2013

Big Island International Marathon 2013

One of our favorite races on the Big Island is the Big Island International Marathon in Hilo.  This year that event fell on St. Patrick's Day, so we all got to run with the luck of the Irish! This year was the first one without Race Director Wayne "Big Dog" Joseph, so the new race directors Joe and Bob Wedemann had big shoes to fill.  But they did a fantastic job and put on a first class event!

The weekend started with the carbo-load dinner on Friday evening at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. The entertainment for the evening was a hula halau from Hilo.

And the evening wouldn't be complete without a hula number from the Queen, Marie Kuramoto.

Her dance was dedicated to Yuka and DJ Blinn who were married the weekend before and ran the full marathon together.
Photo by Yuka Blinn
They looked fantastic out there sporting their Just Married Run Big singlets!

After the food and entertainment was over, it was on to the raffle prizes for the night. I was the first lucky number pulled and won some coffee and a handmade lei from the Queen. Other great prizes given out were Big Island Running Company shirts and hats, coconut water, restaurant gift certificates, and much more.  I think Jason might have been the only one there not to win anything!

The next day was the Health and Fitness Expo and packet pickup.  As usual, the first couple of hours were fast and furious at our Big Island Running Company tables as people stocked up on energy gels, logo shirts and hats (since we were all convinced it was going to rain the entire race).  As the afternoon slowed down, we started to prepare for the race on Sunday.  Jason was sick all weekend, so he won the role of photographer and taxi driver.

After a great pre-race dinner at Sombat's, we were off to bed early to get ready for the early start.  Although it was still dark driving to the race, the pleasant surprise was that it wasn't raining.  After all the dire, wet weather predictions, we actually had about as nice a day for a race as you can expect in Hawaii.  Relatively cool (and downright cold once you stopped running!), overcast, not raining - it was perfect!

We snapped a quick "before"picture of me, Chitwin and Joe (who were both running the full marathon)

and then lined up for the start. 

The first mile or so of this race is pretty much all downhill, so it's hard to keep it the pace slow.  But at the same time, you want to take advantage of that downhill, so starting fast might not be a bad idea! I had been doing some hill training for the past couple of weeks, so my strategy was to hammer the hills in the first 8 miles pretty hard (both up and down) and then hold on for the slow descent into Hilo and the flat portion around Banyan Drive. As it usually goes, I was able to do well on the first couple of uphills and then really lost some steam.  But the downhills were great!

I came out of the hilly portion right about where I was hoping, actually even a little faster.  Don Kirby caught up to me around mile 8.5 and helped me keep the pace up for the next several miles into town.  Of course, he was running the full marathon and kept about that same pace up for the next thirteen+ miles, so I am pretty impressed!  Unfortunately, those last two miles of the half got really long for me and my pace slowed considerably. Right around that time, a couple of runners, Sally Marrack and Ray Ibarra, both passed me like they usually do and continued to run strong to great times.

Even though I was disappointed with the last couple of miles, I still managed to PR with a 1:42:33 and took first in my age group.  And my legs were sore like crazy for the next several days!

Kona runners represented really well at the race, with several claiming age group awards:

Jon Kunitake
Diane Quitiquit and Maggie Murphy
Dene Sturm
Rob Van Geen
Caleb Westfall

Full results from the races are available here.  Congratulations to Adrian Charkowski (25:12) and Amy Masuyama (25:57) - winners of the 5k; Chris Gregory (1:19:03) and Allie Olson (1:27:21) - winners of the half marathon; and Sam Tilly (2:39:22) and Atsuko Fujii (3:32:29) - winners of the full marathon!

Chitwin had a great run, too, finishing in 3:57:29 for a new PR, too!

Congratulations to all participants! Mahalo to all of the volunteers who handed out water, stopped traffic, directed runners, handed out finisher medals and all-around provided great support!  And special thanks go out to the kids who were handing out the awards after the race.  Those poor kids looked like they were freezing and also a little tired!

Up this weekend is the Lavaman Waikoloa Triathlon on Sunday. It starts around 7:30 a.m. at Anaehoomalu Bay for the 1.5K swim, followed by a 40K bike and 10K run.  Good luck to all participants!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Run for Hops 5k/10k

Saturday morning over 500 people gathered for one of the biggest 5k/10k races on the island - the Run for Hops.  This is the fifth year of the event that is held in connection with the Kona Brewer's Festival.  For the first four years, the event was held at the Kona Brewing Company, but as the race and the brewfest got larger, they had to find a new space to host.  So this year the start and finish line moved to BMW Hawaii, which had a great location for a fun race.  Not to worry, though, the beer kegs moved as well, so runners were treated to a frosty Kona Brew after the run.

The morning started off with the 10k runners, who made a loop into Old Airport before heading out towards the highway with a loop through old Industrial.  This is not an easy course, but Sam Corace made it look like one, coming in first in 36:45. Paul Needham from Vancouver, BC was second in 39:33, followed by Joel Anhalt of Arcadia, MI in 39:49.
Rick Vidgen

For the women, Brooke Myers took first overall in 43:42. Jeni Winegarner was second in 44:02 and Chelsea McKenzie was third in 44:34.  Although this race brings in a lot of mainland runners, the top three women in the 10k are all from West Hawaii!

Race to the finish!
The 5k race started about 10 minutes after the 10k and made one loop through Old Airport before heading back to the finish line.  This race was filled with both fast runners and families.  Levi Thomet of Kodiak, AK was the first runner to cross the finish line in 17:01, although he pulled up a little short a first, so would have definitely come in under 17 minutes without that slip-up! Justin Butler (18:26) from Kona and Ziggy Bartholomy (19:36) from Hawi were the second and third place finishers.

An Oka family!
The ladies' 5k was won by Mellissa Davidson of Hanscom Air Force Base, MA in 22:08.  Vickie Zeman of Hartland, WI was second in 23:55 and Shauna Turner of Honolulu was third in 24:21.

Full results from both races are available here

Kellie Kurashige and Titan
After the race, the real fun began, with post-race refreshments, beer and awards.  Thanks to Chico Barrios for catching some of the action for us! More pictures are available here.

Congratulations to everyone who ran the race and thanks to all of the volunteers who helped out for a fun morning!

Up this weekend is the Big Island International Marathon, Half Marathon and 5k in Hilo.  For those in Kona, there is also a 5k Leprechaun-a-Thon and Sham-Walk hosted by the Waverider Tri Club.  We hope you can make it to one of those events!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Zoomin' Zak Plunge and Plod Biathlon!

Last weekend racers gathered at the pier for Peaman's Zoomin' Zak Plunge and Plod Biathlon.  Thanks to John Simmerman who helped out with the timing, I was actually able to race a Peaman event for the first time in about six months.  Of course, that means we still aren't able to take pictures of the races.  The one token picture in this post is from last year's event, but you can imagine it looked very similar.

The distances for this race were a half mile swim and a 3.9 mile run.  The water was pretty calm and there was a good sized crowd for the race. Full results from the race are available here.

In the overall race, Tommy Vonach came in first in 37:51, followed by Don Baldasari in 41:25 and Chris Prater in 41:54.  For the ladies, it was Hannah Seifert taking first place in 47:17; Cobey Ackerman was second in 48:15; and Marissa Bryant-Manago was third in 49:34. I squeaked out fourth in 50:12.

On the way out, I had a great swim, reaching the turnaround about 1 minute faster than usual.  Of course, I gave almost all of that back by swimming way crooked on the way back in, finishing about 10 seconds faster than usual.

After transition, it was out onto the run course.  After running with Chitwin for the first mile, I spotted my targets ahead - Bree Wee and Mike Masuda.  Bree had raced the swim portion and then waited for Mike to come out of the water and ran with him. I kept reeling them in until right before the turnaround when I made my move.  After passing them, I knew I had to keep pushing until the very end, otherwise they were very likely to pass me again! One of the benefits (or downsides) of a small race like this is that you know everyone coming in the other direction so they all give you a cheer or encouragement.  Of course, they also all know Bree and Mike, so I could count the time between cheers for me and cheers for them and know how close they were staying behind me.  And it was close, as they both finished less than 10 seconds behind me.  But I appreciate the push they gave me!

In the relay portion, the father/daughter relay team of Charlie Camacho (run) and Leahi Camacho (swim) took first place with a time of 44:37.  For the run only group, Chico Barrios finished first in 29:44, followed by Ariana Bahret in 29:55 and Alan Ryan in 29:59 (run-only participants started 15 minutes after the initial start).

In the peawee portion of the race, Kanaipono Eckart was first in 12:05, followed by a finned Lainey Eckart in 12:19 and Hana and her dog in 14:02.

The weekend before last had two races that I didn't recap.  The results from the unofficial Mango spring triathlon are here.  I haven't been able to find results from the Waikaumalo Challenge that I ran on the Hilo side of the island, but if those ever appear, I'll make sure to post them.

Up this weekend is the Run for Hops tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. at BMW Hawaii on Loloku Street.  This event features both a 5k and 10k and of course, post-race beer. See you out there!