Challenge accepted!



Members of the triathlon community in the CNMI are up to the task, as they take on the Go The Distance Challenge.

A virtual event organized by Urban Fitness Project Team from Guam, Go the Distance Challenge participants are asked to complete one of the four races—50-mile walk, 30-mile swim, 300-mile bike, 100-mile run, in one month (form July 30). The brave ones could also enter the “Ultimate Challenge,” by doing three events. Daily mileage/results are recorded via Strava App and sent to organizers, and participants who will complete the event/events will receive finisher shirts and medals (except for 50-mile walk) at the end of this month.

Triathlon Association of the CNMI secretary general Ricky Castro said around 40 Saipan residents joined the Go The Distance Challenge and participants were spread into four categories and there were some who also accepted the “Ultimate Challenge.”

“We are joining the event not just to challenge ourselves, but also help our counterparts in Guam,” said Castro, who is doing the 300-mile bike race.

Ironman veteran Manny Sitchon is entered in the “Ultimate Challenge,” where participants have to complete 30-mile swim, 300-mile bike, and 100-mile run for adults division and 15-mile swim, 150-mile bike, and 50-mile run for U17 and under athletes.


Sitchon said he had already planned his strategy to finish the races for one month and said the event is a great way to stay in shape, physically and mentally, as we battle this COVID-19 pandemic.

For the swim part, the sexagenarian’s preferred spot is the waters off Kilili Beach or Oleai and he swims every lunch break for one hour on weekdays and will incorporate long swim time for some of the weekends. Sitchon’s run route is from Beach Road to Marpi and usually on weekends and either early in the morning or after office hours. For the bike part, Sitchon is doing long rides every Sunday and will try to squeeze in short ones in some weekdays.

“I will try to reshuffle the schedule from time to time, depending on my work load. If I am busy, I will go for easy ride or easy run,” said Sitchon, whose been competing in run, bike, and swim races for decades here and in the Philippines.

New York City Marathon participant Rommel Buenaflor took on the 100-mile run challenge and loves the idea of going back to training mode and being part of a good cause. All the proceeds from the Go The Distance Challenge will be used to purchase PPEs for frontliners, according to Urban Fitness’ James Sardea.


“Since we had this pandemic and we don’t have races, I’ve gained weight. This event is a good way to get back in shape and at the same time help the people who are leading our fight against the COVID-19 virus,” said Buenaflor, who will log the needed mileage as he runs along Isa Drive and Airport Road.

“Mileage will be different every day and I will treat this event as my training run,” Buenaflor said.

Raymund Tolentino and his wife, Kathleen, also joined the 100-mile challenge. The couple used to run regularly, but when restrictions were imposed to combat this pandemic, the Tolentinos’ routine changed.

“Now we’re back and will need to work hard to reach the target miles. We missed the races/events on Saipan,” said Raymund, whose favorite run route is from Beach Road to the Gov. Eloy Inos Peace Park.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.
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