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  Celebrating St. Patrick's Day early

Article courtesy of...

By Sean Pagett
Friday, March 17, 2006 9:18 AM HST

Our local St. Patrick's Day celebrations got an early and active start last weekend at Saturday's Green with Envy Swim and Sunday's 12th annual Lanihau Center Leprechaun Run/Walk. I was pleasantly surprised at the great turnout for both events, especially the inaugural Green with Envy Swim that attracted 70 swimmers and splashers.

The morning started off with a quarter-mile Keiki Splash that saw Haley "Pumpkin" Whitener and Madison Hauanio run up the beach just one step apart. Pumpkin got to the line first in 8 minutes, 36 seconds. Madison clocked in just one tick later at 8:37. Pea Wee and his trusty wetsuit slogged his way to the top spot for the wee guys with a third place overall time of 10:05.

When the final keiki course swimmer was done, both the 0.6-mile and 1.2-mile races started together. The chilly conditions didn't seem to slow down the leaders as they powered out to the front of the pack. In the shorter race, Bob Smith's fins helped him keep up with Bree Wee, while Byron Unger and Dylan Niau set the pace for the longer group.

Smith stayed out front throughout the race and made his way to the line in 14:57. Wee followed closely with the day's top wahine time of 15:04. Leann Matsumura took third overall at 16:48. Lauren McAbee wrapped up the ladies top three with a fourth-overall time of 17:53.

Right behind McAbee was Peaman who, with the help of his wetsuit, finished fifth overall in 18:02. Don Davis was next with a sixth-overall and third-place men's time of 18:10.

The race of the day came in the 1.2-miler, where Unger and Niau were battling out front while finned swimmers Tom and Antonita Sena were doing their best to hang on. The heated duel wasn't settled until the very end, when Unger just edged out Niau by a nose. Both swimmers were given the same time of 27:29.

Tom won the family race over Antonita 27:42 to 27:47. Linda Finley rounded out the top five overall and took the ladies finless crown with a great time of 27:58.

Jade Morton at 29:47 and Aimiee Kolman in 30:22 completed the top ladies group. On the men's side Matthew Vanborg at 31:12, Paul Carney in 31:21 and Jeff Whitener at 31:23 made up the rest of the elite group.

The fun and well-organized event was put on by Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen and Eric Neilsen of Aquatic Edge. Their next outing will be the Fabulous Freestyle Clinic March 25 at the Kona Community Aquatic Center. For information, call 331-1766 or e-mail AquaticEdge@hawaii.rr.com.

Sunday morning, the activity moved on shore to the Lanihau Center for the Leprechaun Run/Walk. Just like the swim, the keiki started things off with a half-mile dash around the Center. Logan Borowski dominated from start to finish and clocked in with the morning's fastest time of 2:54. Ziggy Bartholomy was next with a 7-8 age group winning time of 3:27.

Just a few strides later was the Zigster's sister, Selena, who topped the girls' list with her time of 3:36. Jalen Boyd at 3:45 and Karen Cuty in 4:03 wrapped up the speedy front five.

The 3.1-miler and 6.2-milers started together and quickly sorted themselves out with West Point Army Cadet Brandon Schreiner leading the distance group and defending champ Rani "The Road Runner" Tanimoto out front for the short-course speedsters.

Last year, The Road Runner blazed to an easy win with a time of 18:20. On Sunday, she was being chased by Alan Ryan of Laupahoehoe, and Matt Masemore and Kris Kiser from Kailua-Kona. The Road Runner stayed out front for most of the race, but Ryan was never too far back. During the final mile, the lead was exchanged a few times but neither runner cracked.

In the final push to the finish, Ryan got a few steps on the Road Runner and crossed the line first at 17:36. Although she was a few strides back, the Road Runner was also given the time of 17:36.

Masemore held off Kiser for third overall in 18:00. Kiser at 18:14 and Aaron Mitchell in 18:51 wrapped up the very fast front five. Kiser's time was a whopping 2:41 faster than last year.

Behind the Road Runner in the fast female category was Bree Wee, who placed eighth overall at 20:55. Dawn Velasquez was next at 22:26. Selena Bartholomy finished her second race of the day in fourth for the ladies in 23:17. Stephanie Kolp completed the elite five in 26:02.

Schreiner extended his early lead in the 6.2-miler and took first with a resounding victory at 39:57. It was an honor and a privilege to have Schreiner and four of his fellow West Point Cadets at Sunday's event. All four of his classmates ran well with Michael Conway placing seventh overall in 49:13, Steven Benedetti in 11th at 53:02, Sarah Noyes 13th overall and third female in 54:14 and Derek Kenmotsu in 14th at 54:15.

My personal mahalos go out to all five of these Army cadets for their dedication and support of our country.

Chasing Schreiner for the top men's spots was 2005 runner-up Daniel Hodel, who clocked in at 42:56, and Jesse McNeil with a solid time of 44:58.

Wendy DeWeese continued her move up through the ranks as she topped the women's field with an outstanding eighth-overall time of 51:20. Lauren McAbee finished up a strong doubleheader weekend with a runner-up finish in 12th overall at 53:15.

This weekend the foot-racing fun moves to the Hilo side for the Big Island Road Runner's Club Big Island International Marathon & 10.8 Miler. The fun and fitness starts early on Sunday morning. For details, call Wayne "Big Dog" Joseph at 969-7400 or e-mail WaiakeaBigDog@aol.com

Finally, don't forget to mark your calendars for the 25th annual Mac-A-Thon on April 15 (Easter Saturday). This longtime event is definitely one of the Big Island's best. Call 960-9567 for details.