Muldoon has a lot to be thankful for

Posted on Dec 03 2021
Dr. Lily Muldoon tackles the 5-kilometer run course

Dr. Lily Muldoon tackles the 5-kilometer run course of the Pacific Mini Games triathlon tryout last Aug. 21 in Marpi. (MARK RABAGO)

Dr. Lily Muldoon had an epiphany of some sorts after winning last week’s 2021 Northern Marianas Athletics Mt. Tapochao Virtual Run.

After scaling Saipan’s highest peak in a sterling time 44:46, the 36-year-old Department of Public Health director and Commonwealth Health Center Emergency Department physician said she realized she has a lot to be thankful for since moving to the islands more than a year ago.

“This Thanksgiving was my first Saipan Turkey Trot and it reminded me how much I have to be thankful for! I am thankful for my able body to get me to the highest point on island. I am thankful for my partner, Michael Denevan, who motivates me to keep training and always sets a solid pace,” she said.

The California native added that she greatly admires organizations that put a premium in keeping people active by coming up with events like the Turkey Trot.

“I’m also immensely thankful for Run Saipan and Northern Mariana Athletics for creating so many opportunities for us to keep moving and getting many people out and active. As a healthcare provider, I am thankful to see people of all ages taking on the challenge of running Mt Tapachao. Keep it up!” she said.

Noting that this year’s Turkey Trot was a virtual run with NMA setting up just a water station from 6am to 8am on Thanksgiving, Muldoon said she can’t wait to take part in the real deal next year.

“Of course I would prefer to compete in a live race but am happy we had a virtual option. I never have tracked a personal run for distance or time so I downloaded Strava for the first time the night before Thanksgiving. My usual running practice is to clear my head and chat with friends, without paying attention to pace. For this race, I pushed ‘record’ on Strava and didn’t look at it again until the end,” she said.

Dr. Lily Muldoon poses in front of the CHC Emergency Department

Dr. Lily Muldoon poses in front of the Commonwealth Health Center Emergency Department. (MARK RABAGO)

As for the turkeys she and Denevan won for placing in the Top 3 in the women’s and men’s divisions, Muldoon said she’ll leave the cooking to a close friend who invited him to Thanksgiving.

“This year my dear friends Ajani and Sara Burrell generously invited us for a Thanksgiving celebrated with friends. The turkey they made was delicious so I will probably show up at their door with my frozen turkey, asking for assistance. I guess we will feast since Michael Denevan won one too!”

Curiously despite her prowess in running and triathlons, Muldoon said her favorite sport is actually soccer.

“I love to run but soccer is my passion. I mostly run to stay in shape for sprinting on the soccer pitch. Right now I play on four different soccer teams and am motivated by my teammates to keep running!”

Muldoon, who currently suits up for Paire, Women’s All Star Team, Saipan United, and a Men’s B League team where she’s teammates with Denevan, first visited Saipan as a rotating doctor in March 2019. She competed in the Tagaman that same year and loved the islands so much that she returned full time in March 2021.

Aside from the CNMI’s year-round sunny weather and “amazing” triathlon community, Muldoon said what made Saipan her second home is the warmth of the island’s people.

Her only regret is she can’t represent her adopted island in next year’s Northern Marianas Pacific Mini Games despite topping Triathlon Association of the CNMI’s first tryout last August.

“Unfortunately, I am not eligible to compete in the minigames because I will not have the minimum five years of residency. However, I did participate in the tryouts just for fun! I love cheering and inspiring others to do their best,” she said.

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