Ekiden 5 emerged as the top finisher in the 2021 Hafa Half Marathon Virtual Marissa Run’s Ekiden Relay Saipan Edition held last Sunday.
The quartet of Michiteru Mita, Taro Goto, Noriko Jim, and Hiramitsu Ono made up Ekiden 5 and they timed in at 1:33:03 in the 21K race from Micro Beach to Pacific Islands Club and back. Ekiden 5 finished ahead of 10 other teams in the virtual event that runner Edward Dela Cruz organized in support of Guam Running Club’s signature competition, which this year was held in memory of its late member, Marissa David Peroy.
In following the Ekiden relay rules for the virtual race, each runner took five kilometers of the course, while all members ran the last one kilometer. Ono started the race for Ekiden with his 5K run ending across the CNMI Army Recruiting Center in Ladera Center in Beach Road. Mita took over and ran as far as the San Antonio Basketball Court to hand the “tasuki” (cloth sash) to Jim, who completed her 5K journey across the Oleai Sports Complex Field. For the last 5K, Goto ran all the way to Joeten Garapan where Mita, Jim, and Hiramitsu were waiting for him so they can finish the race together at Micro Beach.
Ekiden 5 completed the relay more than four three minutes ahead of Ekiden 10 (1:36:51), which had CNMI national youth team soccer players Dev Bachani, Markus Toves, Jerald Aquino, and Dylan Mister as members. Rounding out the Top 3 was Ekiden 4 (1:37:47) of Kerri Baeur, Anastasia Dela Cruz, Travis Spaeth, and Shuji Kuroda.
Meanwhile, four runners ran the 21K course solo with Dela Cruz Jr. posting the fastest time with his 1:45:52. Dela Cruz, who conducted the race briefing virtually, did the solo run last Friday and then worked with Ekiden 2 (with Erick Bauer, Josh Joson, and Shiela Isla) last Sunday to post the fifth best time (1:46:46) in the relay.
Ronald Villafria also broke the two-hour barrier in his solo run last Sunday after posting 1:54:51, while Malou Carlos and Manny Sitchon clocked in at 2:18:36 and 2:29:38, respectively, last Monday and Sunday.
In the 5K split time, Kuroda recorded the best mark at 18:22 and was followed by Dela Cruz (20:90) and Toves (21:05). In the women’s division, Jim had the fastest 5K split with her 21:34, while Akiko Miller of Ekiden 11 and Kaithlyn Chavez of Ekiden 9 were ranked second and third after posting 22:08 and 21:23.