KONQER participation increases


Female participants crawl as they tackle one of the obstacle courses in last year’s KONQER Guam. Saipan will get a taste of this challenging and fun event this Saturday. (Konqer Photo)

Obstacle course race is one of the fastest growing sports events in the world with the likes of KONQER Sports seeing a steady rise in the number of participants based on statistics organizers provided.

KONQER Sports chief executive officer and race director Kaz Endo said their obstacle course has different levels that attract both the extreme athletes and the weekend warriors. However, they are also pleased to see that youth participation increased rapidly in their three-year existence, thanks to their decision to wave the registration fees to students and individuals in the U14 age group.

“This is a unique race where even families can do it together. A lot of teens have joined and their participation shot up to 80 percent,” Endo said in last Wednesday’s press conference at Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan’s executive lounge.

“One reason behind it is we opened the event for the said age group for free. A lot of middle school kids are now joining the race. This is good since kids nowadays just want to play with their iPads and other gadgets unlike most of us who grew up in a generation that goes out and play.”

He said that some kids no longer engage in outdoor activities, while people are also getting accustomed to social media interaction, which lacks human contact.

“That’s why KONQER Sports’ manta is ‘wellness through play.’ KONQER started out in Guam in 2015 and was held in Palau this year where we also had a great turnout,” added KONQER Sports president Kelli Wedd.

“We kind of created something different for KONQER where we allow people to have fun and at the same time cater to more extreme athletes. That’s why on Saturday, we’re all set to have an exciting event and have fun.”

KONQER’s statistics, presented by Endo, showed that youth make up 30 percent of their participants, 45 percent are adult males, while families are at 50 percent with adult women accounting for the bulk of racers at 55 percent.

“This is a unique product where families can do it together. Teens are also building up with a lot of middle schools now joining especially fees are free. Women remain our largest segment,” said Endo.

He added that there’s also a steady growth of five percent from college and professional males, while the year-to-year trend also showed a 10 percent growth of families participating, and women has a trend of 20 percent growth.

“There are different levels of challenges for everyone. There’s for super athletes who want to further challenge themselves, and for amateurs who just want to finish the race that builds up their confidence. Some walk away feeling more confident,” said Endo.

The race begins at Fiesta at 9am and the course includes a 400-meter swim heading toward the main venue at the Gov. Eloy S. Inos Peace Park in Puerto Rico. Large signs and volunteers will also direct competitors where the next portion of the obstacle course would be.

Participants are advised to prepare themselves by wearing non-slip shoes and having their own gloves. They are also responsible for other gears to be used in the race.

Organizers are encouraging people to watch the race since it is free of charge, while entertainment will also be provided in the duration of the event. Bleachers would be set up, but spectators are advised to bring their own beach chairs. Outside food are not allowed to properly manage the trash at the newly built park.

Kids in the U10 age group, meanwhile, will have a chance to experience obstacle racing with their own kiddie KONQER Land area.

Jon Perez | Reporter
Jon Perez began his writing career as a sports reporter in the Philippines where he has covered local and international events. He became a news writer when he joined media network ABS-CBN. He joined the weekly DAWN, University of the East’s student newspaper, while in college.

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