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Clemons’ Roots Inspire His Love For Long-distance Running

Kalaheo cross country standout Makai Clemons didn’t have to look far for role models in work ethic. Parents Steven and Malia were ideally suited to that role.

“They inspired me to work hard,” Clemons said. “They both really wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon, and they trained really hard and achieved that (goal).

“They definitely got me into running. I didn’t like running at first. I ran with them for fun for a bit. They used to be able to beat me all of the time.”

Clemons the runner has blossomed steadily since. Last October, he won the OIA individual title as a junior and went on to a fourth-place finish at the state cross-country championships.

“I ran two-and-a-half minutes faster between my sophomore and junior years. Last year was a big ‘improvement year’ for me. I didn’t run over the summer much before my sophomore year. After track ended my junior year, I started running 45 miles a week.”

Clemons will look to defend his OIA title at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Central Oahu Regional Park. The 2014 state cross country championships are set for Nov. 1, also at CORP.

Clemons recently took some time to visit with the Windward Oahu Islander.

What is your earliest sports-related memory? I remember playing T-ball when I was 4. I wasn’t the most talented — I think I got my fingers stuck in the facemask once. From ages 5 to 8, I raced BMX bikes and got up to a top 10 national ranking.

What was your area of focus during the summer months? After track season, I was running 65 to 70 miles a week, consistently. I also did a few races during the off-season, including the Hibiscus Half Marathon. I did some trail races, and when my family went to Colorado for vacation, my dad and I ran up Pikes Peak.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Hopefully, I’ll have a good job. I’m planning on being an engineer, although I haven’t decided what field. I hope to raise a family and still be running. My plan now is to live in Colorado. I like it there.

What Internet site do you frequent the most? YouTube or FlowTrack. On YouTube, I watch whatever is going on. FlowTrack gives updates on high school, college and pro runners.

What is your least favorite household chore? Picking up dog poop.

What movie could you watch over and over? That’s a tough one. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby with Will Ferrell.

Who are three of your favorite musical artists? I can’t say I have three favorites. I like to listen to a wide variety of music.

When you have free time, how do you like to spend it? If I’m not running, I like to go surf sometimes or just relax. I like to relax.

You’re stuck on Kahoolawe and can have an endless supply of just one food. What would it be? Pancakes.

If you could have your pick, what celebrity would you most like to meet? Will Ferrell.