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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, February 4, 2005

Love for running can spur healthy addiction

By Oscar A. Hernandez
Special to The Advertiser

Mina Casey-Pang is more than happy to share her addiction — especially when she says it will be beneficial to others.

Honolulu's Mina Casey-Pang has become one of Hawai'i's elite female runners, according to trainer Jonathan Lyau.

Oscar A. Hernandez • Special to The Advertiser

Casey-Pang, 31, of Honolulu, has become one of Hawai'i's elite runners, according to Jonathan Lyau, who has worked with Casey-Pang since 1999 through his Personal Best Training.

"Some people who know me say I'm addicted to running," Casey-Pang said. "Yes, they are right. I am happy to be addicted to running ... there are many other detrimental things I could be addicted to."

Casey-Pang should know. She is a social worker at The Kamehameha Schools. She makes an effort to use her healthy addiction as an example for the students she works with.

"It makes me feel good to know I can get out and run with the high school students," Casey-Pang said. "I often stress to students the importance of staying fit to ensure a healthy mind and body."

Jonathan Lyau
Lyau, 40, of Honolulu, is one of Hawai'i's most accomplished runners. He found a perfect opportunity to share his love of running for the success of others.

"I began coaching a couple of individuals in the 1990s, (when) others began asking if I could help them," Lyau said.

The number of individuals seeking Lyau's guidance grew, and he formed Personal Best Training in 1996.

"It was fun to see (runners) reach their personal goals," Lyau said.

Lyau's running credentials include Hawai'i state high school track champion in the 3,200 meters (1982); twice winner of the Great Aloha Run (1994 and 2002) and has been the top Hawai'i-born finisher in the Honolulu Marathon since 1993.

Casey-Pang wasn't new to running when she joined Lyau's group. But she was seeking a way to accomplish greater fitness goals and racing times through an individualized program.

Lyau prepared a training schedule for an entire year.

"I had a busy schedule when I decided to seek Jon's coaching, so I needed some guidance even if I could not meet during the group time," Casey-Pang said. "My (training plan) tells me what to do each day."

Casey-Pang won the women's division of last month's Mid-Pacific Road Runners Club's Bob & Ron's 5K and was third in the Val Nolasco Memorial Half-Marathon last November.

"She has improved to be one of Hawai'i's elite female runners," Lyau said. "I predict good things in the future for her in the marathon."


Anson Quach
Anson Quach, 43, of Honolulu, has trained with Lyau since 2003.

"He improved his marathon time by 50 minutes and qualified for Boston in only his second marathon," said Lyau of Quach.

Originally from Vietnam, Quach finds PBT's training fits his very busy schedule. He works as a service manager at BEI Hawai'i during the day, and as a waiter at the Oceanarium Restaurant in the evenings.

Quach started running in October 2002 because he wanted to be healthy. He said he was experiencing episodes of shortness of breath, which he has not had since he started running.

"Running is also a way for me to deal with the daily stress of my two jobs," Quach said.

Quach attributes his running success to PBT because of the attention he receives from Lyau.

Prior to joining Lyau's group, Quach said he realized he was unprepared when he ran the 2003 Honolulu Marathon.

"I was struggling after mile 16, trying to survive from one mile to the next," Quach said. "However, this past marathon (2004) under Jon's coaching, I was able to run at a much faster pace and finished strong."

Quach finished in 3 hours, 25 minutes, 18 seconds in the 2004 Honolulu Marathon, which qualified him for the Boston Marathon in 2006.

Quach said that he runs early in the mornings before reporting to his day job, or after finishing his shift at the Oceanarium after 11 p.m.

He said wife Janet's support also makes a difference.

"She understands that being healthy is important to me," he said. "But she also worries because sometimes I do my running at midnight."

Reach Oscar Hernandez at oscar_ photography@yahoo.com.

• • •

Training clubs: Finding one that fits your needs

Here we are still early in the year, and perhaps you, like many others, are seeking to fulfill your New Year's resolution by lifting yourself off a couch that has molded to the shape of your body.

Perhaps you considered joining a gym, but don't want to be pressured to sign on a dotted line that will ensnare you like a cell phone plan.

But you lack one important factor that prevents you from tying on your fitness shoes: motivation.

Well, procrastinate no more. In the following weeks, you will be introduced to a few training clubs/groups that will cost you less than a gym membership, and the only contract you have to deal with is your own will to succeed with your New Year's resolution.


• A good way to find information on fitness clubs/groups is to check out fliers at your local sporting goods store. Most groups have informational fliers that provide a brief description of the types of fitness activities they offer.

• When considering a group or club, ask if it offers a free trial period (most clubs offer this) to see if the training group is a perfect fit for your needs.


The Advertiser will be profiling the following fitness/running clubs on O'ahu. Schedule is tentative.

Jan. 14—Try Fitness!

Jan. 21—Team Jet Hawai'i

TODAY—Jonathan Lyau's Personal Best Training


Brian Clarke's School of Running

Team in Training

Club's Philosophy

Personal Best Training aims to do just as its namesake, to help runners with their personal fitness goals. Lyau said he adopted training principles developed by Dr. Jack Daniels, described by Runner's World magazine as "the world's best coach."

Lyau designs a comprehensive personal training schedule based on one's goals. He trains individuals with specific workouts, letting them know what to do each day of the week. He believes that, "training should not be a guessing game."

Who Can Join?

PBT welcomes anyone to join the group on any given session free of charge. However, for those seeking Lyau's exclusive guidance, he is willing to map out a training plan for a $25 monthly fee.

"I train (people) to reach their individual goals by providing them day-to-day schedules according to each person's ability ... I am available to them via e-mail or telephone if they want to consult with me on anything," Lyau said.

PBT members' ages range from 22 to 70.

Where and When

Thomas Square Park on Sundays between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. (depending on sunrise); and Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. at various locations such as Ala Moana Beach Park, University of Hawai'i area, or Ala Wai Canal area.


Contact Lyau via e-mail at lyauj001@hawaii.rr.com, or visit his Web site at www.bestplacesonline.com/personalbest. Offering his advice on finding a fitness group, Lyau says that, "every group is different, so compare with other groups and make sure it fits your personal expectations." Lyau also suggests that one should, "test the group out by asking for a free session ... (and) talk to others in the group."