Running provides more than just health benefits for Hawaii father-son duo

By Kristen Consillio, Star-Advertiser

A year after 74-year-old Melvin Muramoto suffered a debilitating stroke, he completed last month’s 8.15-mile Great Aloha Run, motivated by his unflagging willpower and his running mate: his firstborn son.

Muramoto finished the race at 3 hours and 43 minutes — walking the entire way — while his 46-year-old son, Curt, ran ahead to try to beat his previous time. The father- son duo has participated in the Great Aloha Run for more than 30 years, missing the race only last year when it was held two weeks after the elder Muramoto had a stroke. They have competed in dozens of other races, including the Pepsi 10K and the H-3 10-mile, since starting the hobby together when Curt was 10 years old.

“We had some ups and downs in all the 30-something races. The first race I think I could’ve beat him, but he caught me in the stadium and outran me to the finish line,” said the Mililani senior. “I’ve only beat him once in all the 30-something years. We’re not athletic but we’re fast learners. My oldest boy, he’s more competitive than I am.”

“He’s a go-getter. … Once he sets his mind to something, he’s not going to stop until he accomplishes what he needs to accomplish.”
Curt Muramoto
On his dad, Melvin Muramoto. The duo runs together, as seen above.

The hobby started when Muramoto wanted Curt and his younger brother to play sports. Curt gave his father one stipulation: that he help coach him. That’s when they started running together.

“I always wanted him to be a part of my life. Because there’s a lot of families, they don’t have their fathers in their lives. I just wanted to make sure there was something I could do with my dad,” Curt said, adding that his father ending up coaching him in soccer and continued as a referee for more than 30 years — long after he stopped playing the sport. “When I stopped playing soccer, I figured he would stop refereeing. Once he got the stroke, I figured he wouldn’t do the Aloha Run anymore, but he still wanted to do it. That’s what I appreciate about him … his will.”

The senior has finished seven marathons and seven half- marathons.

“Talk is cheap. If you going to say it, do it. People say a lot but there’s no action,” Muramoto said. “You try to keep yourself busy. Nobody wants to be a coach potato.”

Since retiring as a maintenance helper for the Department of Human Services in 2007, Muramoto has stopped participating in most races but still looks forward to the annual Great Aloha Run, the time where he can bond with his eldest son. Breaking their more than 30-year streak last year was disappointing, his son said, but he still can’t believe his father’s determination to continue racing.

“That really made me mad because that’s the one streak I really loved about my life,” said Curt, a Mililani Middle School cook. “That was the one time a year we could spend together and just talk — father-son talk — and spend time together before the race would start.

“I’m just amazed he wanted to (do it this year). To be honest, he wasn’t in shape to participate in the Aloha Run this year, but he did it. He’s a go-getter. It just shows how strong his mindset is. Once he sets his mind to something, he’s not going to stop until he accomplishes what he needs to accomplish.”

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