Dev Bachani and Tiana Cabrera affirmed their reputation as the fastest under-18 runners in the CNMI after topping Run Saipan’s Inaugural 1 Mile Road Race held last Friday from the World War II Tank Memorial along Quartermaster Road to just before the Oleai Beach Bar & Grill in Oleai.
Bachani, the 15-year-old recent commit of Park University in Gilbert, Arizona, won the boys U18 division with a second overall best time of 5:18—only open champion and former Division III runner Keith Ketola’s 4:45 was faster.
Coming in second to the Marianas High School student is Bachani’s schoolmate, Cody Shimizu, who crossed the finish line in 5:29. Agape Christian School’s Jason Cao completed the Top 3 in 5:44.
Bachani said the Inaugural 1 Mile Road Race was a unique and fun race.
“This is actually a good race. I liked it because it’s a different competition and everyone was pacing really fast…everyone’s sprinting,” he said.
The NMI Boys U18 National Team left back said he didn’t lead the race from start to finish and only decided to turn on the jets at the latter part of the run.
“I was third place and then I caught up with the first and second place and I just kept my pace. It feels good to win the 1-mile race.”
Cabrera, meanwhile, almost missed the race much less finish first after she mistook the finish line as the starting line.
“I woke up late because I didn’t really sleep well last night. I was really excited. I thought the start was here (near the Oleai Beach Bar & Grill) because I saw Edward (Run Saipan president Edward Dela Cruz Jr.). Then I said ‘wait, why is he here?’ and I asked someone and he said ‘it’s the finish line’ so I drove to the starting line,” she said.
Thankfully, Cabrera still had time to drive to the World War II Tank Memorial and completed the run in 6:42. She was followed by a couple of ACS runners—Eunice Xu and Emma Pang—who came in at 7:00 and 7:04, respectively.
Like Bachani, Cabrera thoroughly enjoyed the Inaugural 1 Mile Road Race.
“The run was really good. My first time to run the 1-mile but I did other distances in track and field training. I’m kind of happy now because this is now my new favorite event. It’s easy and it was fast… boom and you’re done.”
The Saipan International School junior said she started the race conservatively by letting Xu and Pang pace the course.
“My strategy was just to follow the [ACS] girls and just kind of warmup a little bit and at the halfway point I kind of sprinted,” she said.
Run Saipan’s Dele Cruz congratulated the winners and all the participants of the Inaugural 1 Mile Road Race and promised they will bring back the competition next year.
“Please congratulate our kids for their hard work. They set the course record for their division. This is the standards to strive for to beat next year’s record for the 1 Mile Road Race from 2022. Congratulations students and well done for making history!” he said.