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About Us

Over a decade ago, Run Big was born.

Now it's created a community of like-minded runners on the Big Island and beyond!

At Big Island Running Company, our goal is to help you get the most out of your running. Whether you're a new runner just trying to get through a mile without feeling like you might die or a seasoned competitor looking to take some time off your P.R.s, we're here to give you guidance on shoe and equipment selection, nutritional tips, training advice, or just swap stories about past races.

When you come to Big Island Running Company our experts will work with you to find the perfect pair of shoes or inserts for your unique feet.   We'll size you and analyze your gait to determine your individual needs.  While runners and triathletes are particularly dear to us, we can also help walkers, people with foot pain such as plantar fasciitis, or anyone else who is looking for high-quality, properly fit athletic footwear.

What we do

Meet the Team



Melissa Braswell

Melissa Braswell, an owner of Big Island Running Company,  made the move from Chicago to Kailua-Kona in 2009 with her husband Jason, transitioning from life as a transactional attorney in a city known for its nasty winter weather into life as an entrepreneur in a land where a bad weather day is a cloudy sunset.


Melissa started running  as an exercise alternative to the team sports that she played while in school, and she eventually caught the racing bug.  While in Chicago, she enjoyed running 5ks through half marathons, never quite making it to the marathon distance.  It wasn't until 2011 that she finally completed her first marathon in Honolulu, finishing in just under 4 hours.  Lucky for her, she also won a contest that grants her free entry to the Honolulu Marathon and the Hapalua Half Marathon for life!


Melissa's running these days consists of runs with her daughter Emily biking alongside.


Shoe Expert

John Howerton

A.k.a "Johnny Bananas" 4x Ultraman World Championships finisher with a background in sales, marketing and Motocross? John came on as a part-timer in 2014 while training for his second Ultraman. 


An interest in running soon became an obsession with all things running industry related.. especially the shoes. He can be found most days in the store eyeballs deep in shoes, making everyone who dares to delve into the depth of his of his brain feel like Cinderella putting on her new glass slippers.


These days John’s running interests take him to the remote areas and high altitudes of Hawaii’s big beautiful mountains.


Inventory Expert

Mercedes DeCarli

Mercedes DeCarli is Big Island Running Company's t-shirt printer extraordinaire and inventory tracker. She began working at BIRC in 2015 and has been part of the family ever since.


Growing up in Kona, Mercedes found it hard to not get involved in some sort of sport. Mercedes began running when she was 11 to become a better soccer player. She dabbled in sports ranging from tennis to weightlifting but found a love for triathlon and has focused on that since 2012. With multiple sprint, olympic, and half-Ironman distance races under her belt, including twice competing in the IM70.3WC, she completed the 2016 Ironman World Championships (a full-distance IM race) in her hometown with an overall time 13:02:45. Completing the IMWC isn't where she's stopping, there are many more IM events on her horizon. Cedes has also competed in countless 5k, 10k, and half marathon races throughout the years. Cedes feels that running has helped keep her mentally and physically fit and has found that it is much cheaper than visits to a therapist.


Sales Associate

Amber Norwood

Amber is the latest addition to the BIRC Crew. She moved to Kona in January 2022 from Sacramento, California. Her history with running started in 2010 and continued until she added triathlon in 2018. She has completed numerous 5k, 10k, half marathons and 1 full marathon. She has also completed numerous triathlons, with her last being 70.3 Washington. Her sights are set on Honu 2023.


When not training, she spends time with her Kona Ohana - youngest sister, nephew and Tutu. 



Jason Braswell

With degrees in biology and law, it was only natural that Jason would become an owner of a running store.  Having first realized how awesome a running store could be during his association with Universal Sole in Chicago, Jason set about establishing his own joint in paradise.

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