Support builds to keep XTERRA on Saipan

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Posted on Apr 21 2006

It’s just a triathlon. Okay, it’s one of the most grueling triathlons on the planet that takes its challengers nearly a mile through the choppy waters off of Micro Beach, 18 miles along coral roads, single track, and incredible climbs atop their mountain bikes, followed by more than seven miles along one of the most amazing trail runs on the international circuit.

Perhaps that’s why more than 630 people from around the globe have added their names to an online petition aimed at keeping the XTERRA Saipan Championship at home in the CNMI. Add to that the more than 300 supporters who have signed the paper form of the document since the close of the 2nd Annual Saipan Sportsfest and it’s clear that there is ample interest, both locally and abroad, to host the event in 2007.

World champions, international championship race winners, professionals, amateurs, triathletes, non-athletes, and fans of sport are among the people from Susupe to South Africa interested in keeping the XTERRA Saipan Championship in the CNMI.

The list of international heavyweights include two-time XTERRA World Champion and 2000 Olympian Conrad Stoltz, Josiah Middaugh, three-time XTERRA Saipan champion Olivier Marceau, David Henestrosa, Dominic Gillien, Ingrid Rolles, Yu Yumoto, Monique “Pua” Sawicki, and includes people from Japan, Guam, the United States, South Africa, Switzerland, Mexico, China, Australia, Spain, Russia, Canada, the Netherlands, the Philippines, as well as local from the CNMI.

According to Team Unlimited Director of Marketing Trey Garman, no locale has ever opted to end its relationship with the off-road endurance, but they have opted to increase the level of involvement that TU has in marketing their events.

Soon the Marianas Visitors Authority will be meeting to find a way to trim its budget and to find a solution to retain what many decision makers referred to as “one of the most successful events in the CNMI” and the goal of the race supporters is to have at least 1,000 signatures ready to present to them when the board convenes in Tinian for their closed door session.

The “Renew ‘The Crown Jewel’ XTERRA Saipan” petition asks for all who support the continued return of “The Crown Jewel,” XTERRA Saipan for 2007 and beyond to add their names to the list as “XTERRA affords significant return on investment to the CNMI, provides a growing number of participants and repeat visitors from around the world to Saipan and the CNMI, generates lasting favorable impressions of the CNMI, supports a healthy and positive lifestyle, and highlights Saipan’s natural beauty and hospitality.”

While the race is largest item on the MVA’s budgetary plate, the figures given by Garman during his presentation to the MVA board illustrated how the CNMI gets a significant return on its investment during the event for a total value of more than $2 million and more than 54 million CNMI impressions.

The success for the race has never come into question. In the first XTERRA Saipan Championship in 2002 there were a total of 136 participants in the Scramble, the XTERRA Sport, XTERRA Championship, the relays, and the kid’s bike race. This year there were 408 for an increase of 300 percent. The increase in Japanese participation alone has shot up consistently—growing from 10 in 2002 to 100 in 2006. The rest of the international number followed suit with a 350-percent growth rate in 2006—a race that fielded athletes from 13 countries.

To add your name to the growing list of XTERRA Saipan Championship supporters, visit http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/706945192?ltl=1144832523. If you have already signed the paper petition you needn’t add your name online as all duplications will be removed from the list.

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