Keith Longuski hardly broke a sweat when he ruled the 33rd Annual Turkey Trot Mt. Tapochau Fun Run yesterday.
Longuski, who won in 2015 but skipped last year’s event, broke away from the pack early to finish the race in 38:16. The Commonwealth Health Center physician assistant’s record was almost a minute slower than his 37:28 mark two years ago.
A cool 77°F weather and gentle breeze greeted Longuski and the 146 other runners who took on the challenge of making the 4.2-mile (6.8 kilometers) uphill run from Lower Base near the Tanapag Harbor up to Saipan’s highest point. This year’s course became extra challenging with road repairs being done along Isa Drive going up to Capital Hill, while the usual trek up the 1,554-foot mountain remained rough and filled with potholes.
Charlie Sendin, the 2013 and 2016 men’s open champion, was almost two minutes behind Longuski at 41:02 to place second overall and claim the 30-39 age group. His time last year, however, was a little faster as he checked in at 40:23.
Maury Widervaenders topped the women’s open division with a time of 55:30, while Ayano Braxton duplicated Sendin’s feat in the same age group after crossing the finish line at 54:17.
Youngsters Dylan Mister and 10-year-old Kaithlyn Andrei Chavez were the fastest U12 age division runners after logging in 52:33 and 56.30, respectively. Agape Christian School’s Peter Wang and Saipan International School’s Tania Tan topped the U17 with the former submitting 42:55 and the latter posting 48:59.
Taro Kubo and Heather Kennedy ruled the men’s and women’s 40-49 age category with times of 46:34 and 1:02:02, while multisport athlete Tyce Mister, who came in fifth overall, joined Sakiko Eda in the over 50 division winners list as they clocked in at 44:33 and 50:31, respectively.
All winners went home with turkeys for Thanksgiving Day, while raffle prizes—lunch buffets, brunch, beverages, and others—were given to lucky participants.