Mancao, Christley top Marpi Drag Race

Posted on Feb 07 2022

Some of the participants of Run Saipan’s 2nd Marpi Drag Race 5K last Saturday pose for a group photo in front of the former Mariana Resort & Spa. The men’s division was won by Mike Mancao, while Audrey Christley topped the women’s.

There were no visible skid marks, but Michael Mancao and Audrey Christley smoked the competition in Run Saipan’s 2nd Marpi Drag Race 5K last Saturday.

The run, which started at the former Mariana Resort & Spa, saw 21 participants compete with Mancao the swiftest among the bunch with a time of 22:17. He was followed in the men’s division by barefoot runner Chong Nam Lee at 22:28, while completing the Top 3 was Ronald Villafria who crossed the finish line in 23:23.

Mancao said it’s been a while since he took part in a Run Saipan event and it was just fulfilling to stretch his legs again.

“The run was very refreshing because it got my heart pumping and I miss that feeling. The last competitive run I took part in was the Inaugural 4th of July Independence Day 2-Mile Race of Latte Built Gym,” he said.

The 26-year-old Kautz Glass employee said he probably finished first because the top competitors for long distance didn’t take part in last weekend’s race.

“I’m familiar with the route because when I competed in my prime days, I did these races a lot. Very interesting because it’s a mix between flat and elevated terrain.”

Asked why he took a hiatus from running, Mancao revealed it was a combination of a lot of factors that made him take a break from his favorite sport.

“When I went to Guam in 2015, I was trying to train but the conditions and environment didn’t motivate me to continue. So from there, I stopped running. And then last year, Run Saipan president Edward Dela Cruz Jr. spoke to me about starting Run Saipan. And that’s what got me training again,” he said.

Christley dominated the women’s category with a run of 23:50. She was followed by Rosemarie Chisato and Ann Bang with times of 26:40 and 27:48, respectively.

The 43-year-old Alaska native said like other races she joined in the past, she’s just there to have fun with the local running community.

“The run was nice because running brings me joy, a sense of peace. It was fun to run the same race as last year with some familiar faces and new ones too. The weather was agreeable for the run that day. I just run for myself, to beat my own time, beating others is never my goal. My competition is only ever with myself,” she said.

The 2nd Marpi Drag Race 5K was named after illegal drag racing activities that used to occur in the area.

“I coined it last year because it was the location of the infamous illegal drag strip from back in the 1990 Tinaki period. Everyone knows it was the illegal racing area back in the day. What better name than to coin it the Marpi Drag Race 5K,” said Dela Cruz.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at
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