Speedsters Dev Bachani and Akiko Miller topped the Marianas Tourism Month 5K Fun Run that saw more than 400 runners and walkers tackle the course along Beach Road from the Garapan Fishing Base to the Japanese tank at Quartermaster Road intersection and back last Saturday.
Bachani held off a last-ditch challenge by Keith Longuski to win the men’s division in a superb time of 18.27.39. The Kagman Health Center physician’s assistant was just milliseconds off the Marianas High School senior’s pace at 18:27.98. Kingfisher Golf Links general manager Kosuke Sato completed the Top 3 in 19:00.51.
“The whole race was very intense… It was very tiring and I couldn’t feel my legs, but I felt very accomplished at the end,” said the 17-year-old, who will play college soccer at Park University after graduation.
Asked what he’ll do with $250 first place award, Bachani smartly said he’ll save it.
Miller, for her part, nosed out CNMI National Athletics Team member Denise Myers for first place in the women’s division after crossing the finish line in 20:37.07. Myers was not far behind at 20:38.72, while teenager Kaithlyn Chavez was third in 21:41:53. The latter is a member of both the CNMI’s athletics and triathlon national teams for this year’s Pacific Mini Games.
“It was very good time for me. I am so happy. Beginning of the race about 10 people were in front of me. But I kept my pace and passed 2 kilometers in the lead against the other women’s runners. The last 1 kilometer was hard and I dropped time and just tried to push myself,” said Miller
She added the run course was perfectly organized. “I want to say thank you to all the volunteers for their hard work since early morning Saturday.”
Miller said she will use the $250 she won for finishing atop the women’s division to celebrate her son Michael’s birthday.
Aside from Bachani and Miller taking home the top dough, Longuski and Myers pocketed the $150 second place purse, while Sato and Chavez settled for the $100 third place prizemoney.
Run Saipan president Edward Dela Cruz Jr. said a total of 459 took part in the event, which had two waves. The first wave was for competitive runners, while the second was for casual runners and walkers. He said if you count the additional family members who cheered everyone on, the total easily was north of 500 who attended the event, which was organized by the Marianas Visitors Authority and the Office of the Governor.
Dela Cruz also have kudos to Bachani, Sato, Longuski, and Cody Shimizu for keeping a torrid pace in the first half of the 5K race.
“These four hit the turnaround at 7 minutes and 30 seconds. That means they hit the first mile at 5:05/mile…7:30 at the 1.56 mile mark…that is freaking fast,” he said.
Run Saipan helped in timing and organizing the Marianas Tourism Month 5K Fun Run.
In a social media post, Gov. Ralph DLG Torres thanked MVA and Run Saipan for organizing the Marianas Tourism Month 5K Fun Run.
“This morning, my family and I joined our community for the Fit To Lead CNMI Tourism Month 5K Fun Run, sponsored by the Marianas Visitors Authority, the Tan Siu Lin Foundation, Run Saipan, and the CNMI Office of the Governor. [The] turnout was overwhelming. To see people of all ages, from all walks of life, come together for a great cause to promote a healthier Marianas was awesome.”
Torres, who ran alongside Dela Cruz, in the second wave as part of his personal fitness journey, encouraged everyone to exercise and stay healthy.
“I am so grateful for all the continuous support and encouragement that I have been receiving from my family, friends, and our community. I wouldn’t be able to do this without your support. This is only the beginning. I look forward to more opportunities to bring our community together to promote a healthier lifestyle. Stay safe CNMI and keep active!”