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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 14, 2006

Challenge, history steer them to Beantown

 •  60 from Hawai'i set to run

By Kit Smith
Special to The Advertiser

Tim Noonan

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John Kojima

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Anson Quach

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Tim Noonan of Waimanalo had more reasons than most to sign up for the 2006 Boston Marathon.

For one, he is a Boston native and his dad, Joe Noonan, still a Bostonian, will join him in running the race. Tim hopes to set a Noonan family personal record by beating dad's 2:57:30 best time set at age 50.

Tim, 36, also has something to celebrate — a year of being cancer-free. In May 2005 he underwent surgery for testicular cancer.

"During my month of recovery I decided I would come back stronger than ever — like Lance Armstrong (the famed bicycling champion) and set new PRs," he says.

And he has done just that —setting personal bests in the half-marathon distance (at Big Sur in California) and marathon (Phoenix Rock'n'Roll).

What's more, Tim Noonan's wife, Kelly, also will be running. And she's also PR-minded, shooting to do 3:32.

Tim is an acoustical engineer with D.L. Adams Associates Ltd. in Kailua. Kelly, 43, is a personal trainer/group fitness instructor at the O'ahu Club in Hawai'i Kai.

Ask others among Hawai'i's 60 runners entered why they are "doing Boston" and you may get 60 different answers.

Among others:

John Kojima, 52, chief financial officer for Atlantis Submarines.

He enjoys the friendly competition with his running friend U'ilani Pauole, 38, an attorney. "She kicked my butt in the 2004 New York Marathon" — the race she used to qualify for Boston 2006. (She did 3:44).

Last October he did the Chicago Marathon in 3:33 — a Boston qualifying time for men 50-54. "So we're tied now — one for her, one for me. Next Monday we'll line up for a rematch, between 'The Beauty and the Beast.' "

Pauole relates that her New York time came in barely under Boston's limit of 3:45 for women 35-39. Her run in New York "was the most painful experience I've ever had." She and Kojima both went out "way too fast," she said, and the thought of stopping crossed her mind. "Good thing I didn't give up."

Judith Inazu, 57, associate director, University of Hawai'i Social Science Research Institute: "I have two Boston finishers certificates on my wall and want to go for a trilogy."

That was her goal, too, in last year's Boston. "But I did not finish. I collapsed a little more than a mile from the finish and landed in the hospital." That was despite her having completed about 25 marathons. Batteries of tests, in Boston and back home, showed she's OK. One test, though, suggested a low thyroxin level, so she's worked to correct that. She views Boston 2006 as "an opportunity for redemption."

Scot Kuwaye, 42, who qualified in Chicago 2005, in 3:12: "I'm surprised at the number of Hawai'i people running Boston this year. It's a far cry from the handful in 1999 (the year of his first Boston)."

Kuwaye, claims manager for St. Paul Travelers Insurance, wonders if Hawai'i among the 50 states "has had the biggest increase per capita."

Amy Bennett, 28, a base operations manager for Electronic Data Systems: "I qualified for Boston (in Honolulu 2005) by trying to keep up with the cute submariner in front of me. Good thing he was fast." She did it in just her second marathon, in 3:32.

Mike Kasamoto, 57, a structural engineer, who qualified in his third marathon — Grandma's in Duluth, Minn., in 3:31: "I'm doing Boston to experience the World Series of marathons. My goals are to enjoy myself and run a smart race.

"I'm nervous, though. Have I done enough hill training? Can I make it over Heartbreak Hill?"

Jeanne Talbot, 49, a program manager at Kaiser Permanente: It took her five years to bring down her best time from just under 5 hours to just under 4 hours, to qualify for Boston.

During that span, she did a dozen marathons, including Venice, Paris and Istanbul. She finally qualified at the California International Marathon in Sacramento in December. She beat Boston's 4-hour limit for her age group by just 50 seconds.

Talbot had a powerful incentive. Her longtime running buddy, Jody Oyama, also 49, had qualified in Portland, Ore., three months earlier, in 3:57 — a race Talbot also did. They very much wanted to do Boston together.

"In five years we went from two 40-something, non-running women to women with qualifying Boston times," said Oyama, an epidemiologist at STI Medical Systems. "We never dreamed we could do it."

Michael Walker, 45, Junior School principal at Punahou School, will be running his first Boston. He qualified in the 2004 Honolulu Marathon in 3:13:

"I've always wanted to do Boston. As I read more about it, I understand more fully the history and tradition.

"That being said, I just love the Honolulu Marathon, not only the race but how the whole running community here feels throughout the preparation."

Anson Quach, 45. Born in Vietnam and a Hawai'i resident since 1980:

Quach holds two full-time jobs — one with BEI Hawai'i (customer service manager), the other as a waiter at the Oceanarium Restaurant.

He set his sights on Boston after running his first marathon, in Honolulu in 2003.

"To qualify (in 3:25) I spent a lot of time running at night after finishing work at the restaurant.

"I've had some setbacks in training because of all the rain. But I look forward to having a good race."