On the road to recovery

  • Bill Buley / The Garden Island

    Brynne, Tiana and Brandon Wong stand at the end of the Keiki Run at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa in Poipu Saturday.

Brandon Wong is a fighter. Always has been. A fighter in life and in the cage.

It was that fighting spirit that brought him back from injuries suffered in a serious car accident earlier this year to be ready for today’s Kauai Marathon and Half Marathon.

“I’m going to do better on my time,” he said Saturday after watching his three daughters in the sixth annual Kauai Marathon Keiki Run at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort &Spa. “I got 2:19 last year. I’m planning to get under two tomorrow.”

Brandon and wife Tiana were cheering for their daughters, Briana, 10, Tiabre, 5, and Brynne, 23 months, as they joined about 175 kids in in the Keiki Run.

Other than a scar on his forehead, no one would have known that the Puhi man wearing a baseball cap was hospitalized after a car accident in May in Lihue that left him with head injuries, a fractured rib and knocked out his front teeth.

The road back has been agonizing at times, and took longer than he hoped, but he’s getting there.

He proudly points out he’s been off pain pills for two months and in August, ran 17 days training for the 13.1-mile half marathon.

When asked how he’s feeling, Wong offered a big smile.

“Awesome,” he said.

His wife ran the half marathon herself last year but this year will be rooting for her husband and waiting with the kids at the finish line.

“I’m feeling excited for him,” Tiana said. “He was training a lot before his accident, but that didn’t stop him.”

“We were a little worried because he had to get clearance from doctors to run,” she added. “Once he got the clearance he started running one mile at a time. He’s going to do good tomorrow. I think he’s going to beat his time this year for sure.”

Brandon has trained with a 20-pound weight vest to prepare for running and cage fights, to which he also plans to return. His determination and strength, and the support of family, saw him through a rough road back.

He’s just happy to be running again and out walking with his family on a beautiful Saturday morning.

And, Tiana said with a smile, he learned a lesson from last year that he plans to remember today — not to sprint the first five miles and try to keep up with the elite runners.

Brandon grinned and agreed. No racing off in the early miles.

He’ll charge when his body says it’s time.

“I’m ready,” he said.

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Bill Buley, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or bbuley@thegardenisland.com.

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