Micronesian Games gold medalist Mamiko Oshima-Berger left for Australia yesterday to compete in the 2011 Gold Coast Airport Marathon and will be dedicating the race to her late nephew.
Oshima-Berger will be the CNMI’s lone representative to the 42.195-kilometer race that will be held this Sunday in Queensland. Northern Marianas Athletics selected Oshima-Berger for the annual race after dominating Saipan’s long distance events early this year and winning the 5,000m and 10,000m in the 2010 Micronesian Games in Palau. She received the good news from NMA in April or about a week after she heard bad news from Japan—the passing away of her nephew. Oshima-Berger’s nephew, 13-year-old Chihiro, died from a tragic accident and the former had to fly to Japan to be with her family. Two weeks before Chihiro’s death, he and other family members were on Saipan for a visit.
“I will be thinking of him when I race in Australia. He is one of my angels,” said Oshima-Berger, who is also dedicating the race to her ever-supportive husband, Joshua.
The CNMI runner is one of the more than 20,000 from 30 countries expected to join the weekend event that will kick off tomorrow with a 5K, 10K, wheelchair half marathon, and junior dash runs. She is hoping to finish the longest race of the week in three hours.
“I want to run as fast as kangaroos do,” said Oshima-Berger, who posted her best time in marathon early this year, clocking in at 3:16:14 during the 2011 Saipan Marathon. “I look forward to the so called the best running weather in Gold Coast.”
Weather forecast in Gold Coast this weekend is between 17 to 19 degree Celsius or way much cooler than Saipan and Oshima-Berger was told that runners tend to run faster in the coastal city of Australia with this kind of weather.
The Gold Coast race will be one of the two remaining long distances races Oshima-Berger will be competing in this year. The last is the Lake Kawaguchi Marathon in Japan in November.
“These are two big races, but I am feeling the pressure in the race in Gold Coast, as I will be representing the CNMI,” said the 41-year-old runner, who competed in a couple of short distance races and trained for months to prepare for the Australian race.
She went to Hawaii in May and won a 10K event. On Saipan last month, Oshima-Berger ruled the 4.2-mile Silver Streak run and then finished second in the Salvation Army 5K Race.
“I also had a lot of the speed workouts,” she said.