72-year-old Manoa resident prepares to mark 3 decades of running in marathons

Kupuna Life

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A lot of runners are now training for the Honolulu Marathon, which organizers are confident will happen with the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.

One of the runners preparing is a 72-year-old man who’s getting ready for his 30th marathon. 

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Manoa resident Mike Kasamoto laces up his running shoes — double loops for extra security — then stretches out his legs to loosen his muscles before he takes off running.

“I guess I like the challenge,” Kasamoto said. “I like running with friends and keeps me in decent shape.”

Four times a week, he pounds the pavement, starting off gradually and eventually ramping up to 20 miles before an event.

“We’re taught not to run at a marathon pace, but we should be running at a conversational pace so you can talk go someone,” he said.

Kasamoto, who owns an engineering firm, is getting ready for his ninth Honolulu Marathon, which is scheduled for Dec. 12. His first time at the event was nearly 20 years ago.

“Turned out I wasn’t in shape, I hadn’t trained,” Kasamoto said. “Turned out to be a terrible marathon.”

But the 72-year-old didn’t quit. In fact, this will be his 30th marathon, which includes runs in Boston and Portland.

“My best time was in Minnesota, at the Grandma’s Marathon in 2005,” he added. “You just have to trust the training that you’ve done and usually it’ll allow you to pace and run a decent marathon.”

He recommends following a training schedule and running with others to help you get to the finish line.

“You’re definitely exhausted,” said Kasamoto. “It’s not an easy thing to do, but if you trained, you’re recovered relatively fast, in a few days.”

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And then it’s back to training, to get ready for the next test of endurance.

“I hope I can stay in good health and keep going until I’m 95,” Kasamoto laughed.

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