Former XTERRA Saipan and Tagaman champions Renata Bucher and Olivier Marceau faltered on their title bids this year, but were still recognized for their support to the Saipan Sportsfest.
Bucher was cited and received a gift certificate from Hyatt Regency Saipan for joining the annual festivities for the ninth time. Bucher holds an unprecedented seven XTERRA Saipan crowns (sixth in a row) and owns two Tagaman plums.
“I love this island and its people. I kept coming back here because of the people's great hospitality. The volunteers are really helpful and the organizers are great,” said Bucher in a brief speech last Saturday night during the awards banquet for the 24th Tagaman Triathlon.
Marceau dominated XTERRA Saipan for three straight years (2005-2007), missed the Saipan Sportsfest for four straight years, but joined the last two editions of the competitions. He shared Bucher's views, saying the host's warm hospitality makes him return to the island.
“I love it here. This is a beautiful island to race and the people are so warm,” Marceau said.
The two former champions were also honored for doing the PIC Double (XTERRA and Tagaman) with more than 10 other individuals. Others who completed the PIC Double were couples Jacqui Slack and Ben Allen, Rory Downie, Aleksandr Dorovskikh, De Un Den, Mieko Carey, Manny Sitchon, Brad Ruszala, Peri Gray, Daz Parker, Carina Wasle, Ayshalyn Perez, Alan Moore, and Tyce Mister.
Mister got another recognition when he was selected as Powerade's top Saipan athlete for placing in the Top 3 in both the Tagaman and XTERRA Saipan. In Tagaman, he was runner-up in the 45 to 49 age group after clocking in at 3:52:36 and in XTERRA Saipan, the multi-sport athlete also finished second with a time of 4:11:33.
Korea's Yu Hun Park joined Mister and age group winner Haruo Yamakawa of Japan in the Top 3 in Tagaman and the former was also honored in the awards ceremony last Saturday at the Pacific Islands Club. The Korean was recognized for competing in 17 of the 24 editions of the oldest triathlon event in the Western Pacific. The 49-year-old Park finished last Saturday's Tagaman under four hours, submitting 3:55:58.
Meanwhile, age group winners in the championship and sport courses of Tagaman and the relays will be reported later this week.