A Marathon Team Training Effort

Bob Hogue
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Wednesday - July 28, 2005
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Back in the ’70s, thousands of fitness enthusiasts took to the streets as jogging became a household word.

For the more serious runners, marathons sprang up everywhere, almost overnight. Here in Hawaii, the first Honolulu Marathon was held in 1973. Only 167 runners took part. Three decades later, the numbers for one of Hawaii’s most popular events are staggering, with more than 10,000 runners and 10,000 volunteers hitting the streets of Honolulu each December.

“People want to enjoy a healthy and active lifestyle,” says Kathy Mikami Price, who has made competitive running a major part of her life since her schoolgirl days on Molokai. Kathy, now 32, was one of the top distance runners in the Maui Interscholastic League in the late ’80s. Running for Willamette College of Oregon, she went on earn a trip to the NAIA Nationals in the early ’90s before later graduating from the University of Colorado.

Like so many runners, she no doubt enjoyed the physical high that daily running workouts gave her body. She also enjoyed the camaraderie of working out with other runners.

“I joined Farber’s Flyers (a running group at the University of Hawaii) and also ran with (former world class distance runner) Gerry Lindgren,” she says. In 1999, she ran her first marathon. Yes, right here in Honolulu. But she wanted to achieve more.

“I wanted to qualify for Boston,” she says. The Boston Marathon is so prestigious in the world of runners that the mere mention of the city’s name sends chicken-skin chills up and down the spines of running enthusiasts everywhere.

So, in 2000, she joined up with ultra-marathoner and Ironman triathlete Chet “the Jet” Blanton. Blanton, a diehard running enthusiast who (at last count) had participated in “37 marathons, 80 ultra-marathons and 53 Ironman triathlons,” he says, believes in group training. His new running group was called Team Jet Hawaii. Kathy was one of his first team members.

“People are realizing that it’s a lot easier to train in a group,” Chet “the Jet” says. “A group gives you the support you need.”

The team met two evenings a week at Kapiolani Park for speed workouts and shorter runs. Then, on Sunday mornings, they went out together for a long run.

Kathy’s hard work paid off. In 2001, she realized her dream and ran the Boston Marathon.

“I didn’t have the best time, but I still enjoyed it,” she says. “Just knowing that I could qualify made it all worth it.”

And there was a little something extra that her participation with Team Jet Hawaii led to. Through a friend on the team, she was introduced to another runner. Kathy and Matt Price were married just two months ago and set up housekeeping in Kailua. “We encourage each other,” she says.

Beginning next week, Kathy and her friends at Team Jet Hawaii will start a training program for this year’s Honolulu Marathon. And they’re adding another training venue to their Honolulu and Mililani groups. “We’re excited to add the Windward side this year,” Kathy says. The orientation meeting for the new Windwardside marathon training group will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday, July 31, at the new Fleet Feet (old Pizza Hut) store in Kailua. The 19-week training program begins Tuesday, Aug. 2.

“We have all different levels, from beginners to advanced,” she says. “Our goal is to ensure safety and fun and help people with their individual running goals.”

For more information, contact Kathy at 271-7062 or visit www.teamjethawaii.com.

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