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Thursday, April 24, 2014

Signature sports events draw crowd

Bikers cruise past the Mariana Resort during the 2013 Tagaman Triathlon. (Roselyn B. Monroyo) The CNMI’s signature sports competitions lured numerous off-island participants.

In March, the islands had the Saipan Marathon, which drew over 800 runners. Saipan’s very own Mamiko Oshima-Berger led winners in the annual race, ruling the ultra marathon (50K) with a record-breaking time. Oshima-Berger submitted 4:11:02 to beat the time of 2012 winner Yoko Yamazawa (4:19:21).

The 2013 XTERRA Saipan Championship also took place in March with couple Ben Allen of Australia and Jacqui Slack of Great Britain winning the men’s and women’s division crowns. Allen defended his title against former XTERRA World champion Dan Hugo and Olympian Olivier Marceau. In the women’s division, Slack stunned many time XTERRA Saipan Renata Bucher.

The visiting pro triathletes stayed on Saipan for another week to compete in the Tagaman Triathlon and Allen and Slack picked up where they left off ruling the longer race.

The CNMI hosted two more triathlon events for off-island athletes via the Rota Blue and Tinian Turquoise triathlons.

For its season-ending offering, the CNMI, through the Marianas Visitors Authority and NMI Cycling Federation, held the seventh edition of the Hell of Marianas Century Cycle Race.

Japanese pro Kasuhiro Yamamoto topped the 100-kilometer race, while Australia’s Jodie Willet repeated as champion in the women’s division.

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