Michael Denevan and Lily Muldoon topped yesterday’s 2nd Annual 4th of July Independence Day 2-Mile Race, but the biggest winners were actually members of the CNMI National Athletics Team who were finally able to exact sweet revenge on their coaches after winning the “pie challenge.”
For a change, Denevan beat Muldoon in a race after crossing the finish line at the entrance to the Liberation Day fair in a flat 12 minutes. Rex Pixley came in second moments later in the 12:04 mark followed by his fellow national track and field member, Sildrey Veloria, in 12:32.
Muldoon was fifth overall and first among women with a time of 12:49. Runner-up was another CNMI national member, Kaithlyn Chavez, who clocked in at 13:51. Third place went to Rose Chisato after turning her popsicle stick in 15:15.
Denevan said it was cool to finally beat the good Commonwealth Health Center doctor in a foot race.
“It helps that it’s a shorter race and I have a better chance. [As a sprinter] I have little more speed [in short spurts]. But if it’s any longer than 2 miles then Lily would’ve got me for sure.”
He added that training with Muldoon actually has helped him become a faster runner.
“It helps to have a really fast training partner. In order to run with Lily every day I have to run pretty quick. I was feeling good this morning and the runners are all really fast and I just kept up with them which I did. It was a nice Saipan morning. Not too busy and not many cars out there. Not too hot and it’s actually pleasant morning to run. It was good.”
For Muldoon, she acknowledged that it was the first time Denevan beat her in a race that didn’t involve two wheels.
“I had a goal to keep up with him today. So, we took off fast with the pack and I was trying to stay close behind because that’s one of the things that I do when I train is to keep up on how fast he runs. Then about half a mile in I realized I was not going to be able to keep up with him and I need to try to find another person to try and keep pace with. He felt it today and he was really, really feeling good.”
The 37-year-old Department of Public Health director and CHC Emergency Department physician jokingly said that she and Denevan will need to have a chat when it comes to who wins races in the future.
“We’re gonna have some conversation about this. [But] I’m just happy he’s out running because sometimes it’s hard to get him out and do these races. It seem he’s very motivated. It’s only 2 miles which is a nice rest and we have friends who are new to the Saipan running community so we wanted to run with them,” she said.
Meanwhile, national coach Dr. Ron Snyder, sprints coach David Shamburger, and Run Saipan president Edward S. Dela Cruz Jr. got their just deserts when Pixley, Veloria, Chavez, and Theo Rodgers smashed pies on their faces after they beat Shamburger in the race.
As part of an incentive for members of the CNMI National Athletics Team, Run Saipan and Latte Built Gym, who sponsored the race, issued a challenge that whoever beat the former Southern Oregon University track athlete in the 4th of July race would have the honor to “pie” the three after the event.