The youngest runner in the 6th Annual Marianas Coffee Trail Run was also among the best, as 9-year-old Haruya Eda topped the U18 division of last Saturday's 10-kilometer race.
Eda, who will turn 10 this May, completed the race that started and ended at the American Memorial Park and brought runners to coffee plantations and trails on Navy Hill at the 1:02:45 mark. He was the fourth overall finisher in the shortest course of the annual event, placing ahead of the eight other age group winners in the 10K and more than 20 others.
The Saipan Community School honor student even defeated top female finisher Amy Sletten in a sprint to the finish line, as the latter timed in at 1:04:57. Eda was also just over a minute behind third overall finisher and veteran runner Steven Pixley (1:01:39). Paul Viator and Charlin Sendin took the Top 2 finishes, as reported earlier after clocking in at 53:19 and 55:06, respectively.
Joining Eda in the age group winners club were Joey Tudela, Karina Cerezo, Joseph Villacrusis, Jennifer Cui, Noel Altamirano, Emi Okazaki, Philip Boeve, and Xiuyun Hocog.
Tudela and Cerezo ruled the 19 to 29 age groups with times of 1:05:41 and 1:30:07, respectively. Villacrusis checked in at 1:10:14 to reign in the 30 to 39 division, sharing the top honors with Cui, who submitted 1:16:29. Altamirano had the second fastest time among age group winners with his 1:06:51 to prevail in the 40 to 49 division, while Okazaki topped the female category with her 1:17:40. Boeve and Hocog logged 1:16:31 and 1:35:05, respectively, to clinch top place in the 50-and-above age group.
In the 15K division, which brought runners to as far as Mt. Tapochao, Adam Hardwicke recorded the best time among age group winners with his 2:03:49. Hardwicke went on to win the 40 to 49 age group, while his running partner Douglas Hartig came in just 10 seconds later to top the 50-and-above division.
Other age group winners in the 15K were U18's Seiya Eda (2:31:42), 19 to 29's Alexander Standish (2:06:29) and Kaitlin Mattos (3:01:27), and 30 to 39's Brian Flaherty (2:25:19) and Yumiko Mizuno (2:52:09).
Meanwhile, last weekend's 89 runners surpassed the 2012 turnout (58) of the Coffee Trail Run and the organizing Marianas Visitors Authority is hoping for the continued growth of the annual event.
“The 6th Annual Marianas Coffee Trail Run was a success, by all accounts,” MVA Community Projects manager Martin Duenas said in a press statement. “It's a beautiful course that is growing in popularity with local runners and walkers. We had at least one company sponsored employees to participate as part of its health and fitness promotion. Our ultimate goal is to grow the number of off-island participants as well.”
MVA thanked the following for supporting last weekend's event: Marianas Coffee Co., KFC Triathlon Club, American Memorial Park, KKMP, KMCV, Team PDI, Division of Fish and Wildlife, Division of Parks and Recreation, Department of Public Safety, Department of Public Lands, Jesus and B.J. Attao, Chuck and Anne Jordan, Gordon Marciano, and other volunteers.