Mile High Club, English Academy, Freshmen ’24, and 10th Graders SIS “reached” Rota to finish the Run The Marianas about three months ahead of schedule.
Freshmen ’24, 10th Graders SIS, and Mile High Club completed the 460-mile virtual race that started at Farallon De Pajaros last week, while English Academy “made” it to the finish line on Rota last Tuesday. The four teams’ Run the Marianas journey brought them to Maug (42-mile mark), Asuncion (67), Agrihan (130), Pagan (175), Alamagan (214), Guguan (234), Sarigan (276), Anatahan (300), Farallon De Midinilla (325), Saipan (376), SIS (388), Tinian (397), and Aguijan (410) before the final stop on Rota. The early finishers joined the Saipan International School and Northern Marianas Athletics-organized event about a week after the race kicked off (Oct. 15) and logged the required mileage way ahead of the Feb. 14 cut-off.
“I was expecting that we will finish around December, but more team members joined, the date came closer and closer,” said Mile High Club captain Jeffrey Bacani, who teamed up with Mary Deala, Jonathan Sugutan, Terence Leung, Edward Dela Cruz Jr., Anastasiia Dela Cruz, Jay Muna, Tricia Cortez, and Elena Gersonde.
Bacani, who recorded about 25 miles during his runs on the road across the Oleai Sports Complex and on a treadmill, added that having teammates putting in the time and effort motivated him to get up in the morning and make his contribution.
“Some of our members averaged 20 miles a week,” Bacani said, adding that Edward Dela Cruz Jr. registered the most miles with 138 and the latter will gain more mileage as he is also competing in the solo race.
Gersonde chipped in 44 miles and recorded most of them in Marpi, as she loves running on hills. She echoed Bacani’s thoughts on having more teammates challenging and inspiring you to put in the miles even though they ran on different locations and time.
One team, one goal
10th Graders SIS has 19 members and though its top runners were expected to log a lot of miles, still making it to the finish line was a team effort.
“This race helped us work together and become closer as a class,” 10th Graders SIS captain Tiana Cabrera said.
Jack Linden, one of the 22 runners of Freshman ‘24, said it was fun running with his friends and classmates and supporting each other as they moved closer to the “finish line,” especially at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It has been difficult in the last nine months to be outside and do anything. It’s great to finally be able to do something related to sports and interesting to see how we really came together, plan, and safety finish the race,” Linden said.
As for English Academy, the Run The Marianas allowed its off-island members to connect with those who are able to stay on Saipan.
“Almost half of the team (English Academy had nine members) has been unable to return to Saipan because of visa restrictions. This has been a great way of bringing the class together and including them (off-island). Also, some of the students have discovered they like running and are picking up a new, healthy hobby,” said English Academy teacher Cary Bertoncini.
English Academy, Mile High Club, Freshmen ’24, and 10th Graders SIS are among the 43 teams that joined the Run The Marianas. Adding the 13 individual participants, the virtual event has drawn 350 runners, including members of newcomer Saipan Homeschool Co-Op. Runners are from Saipan, Rota, Guam, Hawaii, the U.S. mainland, Macau, Czech Republic, Scotland, Australia, and New Zealand.
“I have been overwhelmed with the response to the event. The 9th and 10th graders at SIS through themselves into it wholeheartedly and really raked in the miles. They are in the school category and the number of members is greater. Mile High Club completed the event with only 10 runners and have been extremely supportive of the event in our Facebook Group,” race director Ron Snyder said.
Medals are awarded to the Run The Marianas finishers, while certificates of completion are given to teams/individuals after every island stop completed.