After 18 years out of competition, 44-year-old Sage Sarchet is
Sage Sarchet has been a force to reckon with on the Maui road running scene for the last few years. On Sunday, the Maui Marathon may turn out to be the force that reckons with him.
The 44-year-old will attempt the 26.2-mile distance for the first time with hopes of qualifying for the 2019 Boston Marathon — he needs a time of better than 3 hours, 25 minutes to be eligible for the 45-49 age group of the prestigious race.
“It’s kind of weird because it’s a chapter in running, something that had been a huge part of my life that I never really thought I’d revisit again,” Sarchet said. “And now here I am, going to run a marathon. It’s been cool, it’s been unexpected for sure.”
In 1996, he graduated from Hastings (Neb.) College, where he still holds the school track record for the 10,000 meters and was a key member of four teams that qualified for the NAIA national cross country championships.
“Then I sort of stopped running,” said Sarchet, who, with his wife Jill, moved to Oahu in 2000 and then to Maui in 2008. “I hadn’t actually run for about 18 years when a friend of mine, maybe five years ago, he wanted to do Hana Relay. He said, ‘Hey, let’s get in shape for that.’ That was on New Year’s Eve, so New Year’s Day I started training for that. It just sort of snowballed since then.”
After not making it a mile on his first attempt at a workout that lasted about “13 minutes,” he has jumped into prominence in Valley Isle Road Runners’ races the last couple years.
He finished second in the Kahakuloa Half Marathon in June in 1:29:16 — his second attempt at the 13.1-mile distance — and is routinely in the top five of local 5K and 10K races.
“I’m older now, so I’m not so terrible for my age group — that was really encouraging,” he said.
Sarchet’s three children — 7-year-old twin boys and a 5-year-old daughter — have come to expect their dad to win.
“They think I’m Superman,” he said. “They expect me to win the Maui Marathon. … They’ve seen me come in first in a couple races and they are surprised when I don’t — that’s pretty cool.”
Co-race director Jim Lynch said he expects more than 2,000 entries for the four races that will take place on Sunday morning, about 500 of those in the marathon.
The marathon and inaugural four-person marathon relay start at Hookele Street, close to Hana Highway, at 5 a.m. The half marathon starts at 6 a.m., the 10K at 6:15 a.m. and 5K at 6:30 a.m., all starting at the marathon finish line in front of the Kaanapali Beach Hotel.
Sarchet, who is the owner of the Pepperidge Farms distributorship on the Valley Isle, coaches his children’s cross country team at Puu Kukui Elementary School and hopes to use Sunday’s race as a motivation for his young runners.
“That’s like another level of something that’s come about because I’m doing this,” he said. “Another chapter of running that I never expected to have — it’s pretty cool.”
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com