Lee, Camacho make grade


The CNMI’s James Lee goes through one of the obstacle courses featured in the Trench Challenge in Guam late last month. (Kimberly A. Bautista)

Two members of Team CNMI advanced to the 2019 Obstacle Course Races World Championships in London after surviving the Trench Challenge held in Guam late last month.

James Lee and Rodney Camacho made the grade in the Guam qualifier and will be flying out this week as the Commonwealth’s first representatives to the OCR World Championships that will be held on Oct. 11.

“Competition begins Friday, starting with a 3-kilometer plus 24 obstacles then Saturday with a 15K distance with 100 obstacles. We will be carrying our CNMI flag to this event making CNMI the 68th country to participate at the OCR World Championship,” said Lee.

Lee, Joe Villacrusis, Joey Tudela, Camacho, and R.J. Aquino of Team CNMI joined the Elite Division of the Trench Challenge last Sept. 29, while another Commonwealth bet, Ando Agulto, was entered in the recreational division.

“Even though we competed as individual and not as a team, we did, however, competed under our home island, CNMI,” Lee said.

Lee ended up placing No. 9 overall out of 33 participants in the Elite Division after completing the 7-mile course in 1:29:41 Camacho posted 2:30:49.

“The distance was 7 miles with 39 obstacles consisting mostly of terrain runs with hills and inside the jungle and of course some mud pits, while the obstacles dealt with a lot of upper body strength. I finished seventh at my age group category and ninth overall out of 33 competitors, while the rest of Team Marianas OCR finished respectfully given that this year was their first OCR ever,” he said.

While Lee’s teammates were first-timers, the MARPAC employee joined his fourth Trench Tech Challenge. He added that this year’s Elite Division was far more competitive compared to the previous ones that he had competed in.

“Not only were there more competitors, but the obstacles were much more challenging. In addition, because Trench Challenge is now affiliated with the World OCR Federation, they have adopted their rules and regulations, which in turn have made the level of difficulty higher,” Lee said.

One of the tough regulations implemented was each athlete was given three wristbands at the start of the race and he/she only had one attempt to complete one obstacle. If the participant fails, the officials will take away one wristband. Every lost wristband meant penalty for the participant and it will be applied at the penalty area before the finish line.

Lee said one of the penalties was to carry two 65-lb kettle bells around a loop (50-meter distance). The number of wristband lost was equivalent to how many loops an athlete had to take. Losing all three wristbands would result in disqualification from the OCR World Championships, but participants were still allowed to proceed and finish the race.

Meanwhile, Team CNMI would like to thank all their sponsors and supporters, including Michelob Ultra, IT&E, Brabu, Safehouse, Marianas Visitors Authority, Latte Built Gym, MO.DE Ftness, Monkey Biz Production, and Salty Skin Pacific.

Team CNMI members pose for a photo after completing the obstacle courses in the Trench Challenge held late last month in Guam. (Contributed Photo)

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.
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