Four hundred sixty-two competitors from eight countries earned the bragging rights as “finishers” in Saturday’s 11th Saipan Marathon, according to the Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA).
The race attracted 43 runners for the grueling 50K course, 93 for the marathon, 166 for the half marathon, and 228 for the 10K. Majority of the competitors were from Japan, with others hailing from the CNMI, China, Korea, Taiwan, USA, Philippines, and Indonesia.
Leading the marathon finishers was 21-year-old Haruki Okayama (2:42:12) of Japan in the men’s division, while Saipan resident Mamiko Berger (3:15:19) improved her time and repeated her 2015 win in the women’s division. In the half marathon, 35-year-old Shiji Shiratori (1:22:52) of Japan led the men’s division and 38-year-old Yusuko Miyazaki (1:37:28) of Japan won the women’s division.
Topping the 10K race was 31- year-old and Saipan resident Keith Longuski (37:43) in the men’s division, while 38-year-old Tomoe Yokoyama (43:00) of Japan repeated her 2015 win in the women’s division. Out of 31 men who braved the 50K course, 31-year-old Masayuki Abe (3:29:22) of Japan finished first, while 52-year-old and Saipan resident Lori Hutchinson (4:28:26) bested 12 other women.
“Once again, the marathon was a strong success thanks to the overwhelming support of our many sponsors, supporters, and the community. We were especially pleased to offer more cash prizes this year to the top finishers,” said MVA Community Projects manager Martin Duenas.
This year’s marathon saw the participation of several Japanese comedians, including long-time marathon supporter Kanpei Hazama, who assisted with the presentation of awards, The awards ceremony was held at sunset on the beach at Fiesta Resort & Spa. The event was also covered by visiting media from Japan.
Major sponsors this year were Scalp D, Mobit, Runtomo, Delta Air Lines, Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands (HANMI), T Galleria, and Northern Marianas Athletics.
In-kind contributors were Emperor Ent. Corp. dba Furusato Restaurant, Herman’s Modern Bakery, Pacific Subsea Saipan INC., Lao Lao Bay Golf & Resort, Pacific Islands Club Saipan, I- Mart, Kanoa Resort, Saipan Shipping Company, Inc.., Avis Rent A Car, McDonald’s, Hyatt Regency Saipan, NGT. Country House/Moby Dick, MARPAC, Kan Pacific/Mariana Resort & Spa, Triple J. Wholesale, Island Apparel, and Saipan Advertising.
Aid stations were manned by members of HANMI and other groups, including Northern Marianas Athletics, Pacific Islands Club Saipan, Coral Ocean Point Hotel & Golf Resort, Best Sunshine, Saipan World Resort, Grandvrio Resort Saipan, Kanoa Resort, Fiesta Resort & Spa, Tasi Tours & Transportation, Pacific Development Inc., Hyatt Regency Saipan, IT&E, Aqua Resort Club, Mariana Resort & Spa, and Nepalese Community of Saipan
Additional support was provided by the following government and private sector offices and individuals: Saipan Mayor’s Office, Division of Parks and Recreation, Department of Public Safety, American Memorial Park, Fire Division Emergency Medical Services, Hawaiian Rock Products, Department of Public Works, Japan Saipan Travel Association, Miss Marianas Jian Joyner, American Red Cross NMI Chapter, and school MY WAVE Clubs.