Northern Marianas Athletics will conclude the season with the staging of the 37th Annual Christmas Island Relay on Dec. 29.
After successfully holding the 34th Annual Mt. Tapochao Turkey Trot Run last month, NMA secretary general Robin Sapong said their association decided to go ahead with the 13.7-mile race from Pacific Islands Club in San Antonio to the Last Command Post in Marpi. Sapong added that their president, Ray Tebuteb, and the NMA board have also agreed to donate proceeds from the relay event to schools/students affected by Super Typhoon Yutu. Beneficiaries of both the relay and the Mt. Tapochao Turkey Trot Run’s proceeds will be announced later.
Details on how to register for the Christmas Island Relay have yet to be finalized, but NMA is expected to follow the same rules (team event) it has implemented in the past several years. NMA has required each squad to have five members and those racing in the open mixed division must have one runner in the 16 years old or younger age group, a female, or 40 years old or older. In the youth mixed division (U16 age group), a team has to have at least one female or U12 runner. For the course, each member will alternately run one mile.
Last year, Agape Christian School A topped the south to north race after making it to the Last Command Post in 1:26:30. Peter Wang, Jonthan Xiong, William Chen, Leo Li, and David Cai were Agape A’s runners and they beat the Keith Longuski-led TRAC 1. Longuski, a perennial winner of long distance races on Saipan, teamed up with Charlie Sendin, David Brook, Heather Taylor, and Josh David Joson and they clocked in at 1:28:21 to take the runner-up honors. Rinty FC, who had Rintaro Miyawaki, Joshua Abragan, Christopher Aninzo, Anthony Fruit, and Clayton Izuka as members, rounded out the Top 3 in the open division after recording 1:29:50.
In the youth division, Kaith Lynn Chavez, Mark Esalan, Taka and Ichiro Borja, and Jan Matthew Milo of TanHoldings were the top placers after combining for 1:34:08, just 10 seconds ahead of Agape B.
Meanwhile, the island relay is also open to solo runners. Ronald Villafria (1:43.30), Max Simian (1:50:24) and Edmond Bata (1:54:19) were the Top 3 solo finishers in last year’s race.