New winners in Saipan Duathlon


Bikers navigate an uphill road in San Roque during last Saturday’s 5th Saipan Duathlon. (Ponciano Corotan)

Shuji Kuroda spoiled Charlie Sendin’s bid for back-to-back titles, while Kaithlynn Chavez won her debut after taking the top honors in the 5th Saipan Duathlon last Saturday.

Kuroda emerged as the first overall finisher in the three-leg race that featured a 5-kilometer run, 20K bike, and 2.5K run, as he cut the tape at the Banzai Cliff in 1:05:09. He completed the course more than six minutes ahead of Sendin, who won last year’s competition. Kuroda also joined the 2019 edition of the tournament organized by the Triathlon Association of the CNMI and was only ranked fourth in the men’s division and eighth overall before making a big leap this season.

Kaithlynn Chavez heads to the finish line at the Banzai Cliff to take the first place honors in the women’s division race. (Ponciano Corotan)

Sendin missed defending the men’s division crown after timing in at 1:11:28, while Tyce Mister rounded out the Top 3 finishers in the group after posting 1:12:17.

In the women’s division, the 14-year-old Chavez prevailed over 3rd Saipan Duathlon champion Ayano Braxton and another veteran, Kimiko McKagan. The Mt. Carmel School student submitted 1:16:31 for a close victory over Braxton, who logged 1:16:59. McKagan was at distant third with her 1:20:20.

Shuji Kuroda, fifth left, poses with other finishers in last Saturday’s 5th Saipan Duathlon. (Jonathan Ibajan)

Fourty-eight joined the individual race, which started and ended at Banzai Cliff with a turnaround point near the Last Command Post (for the 5K run) and Seafix (just before Saipan Ice plant in Lower Base for the 20K bike).

Relay champions
In the relay races, 24 teams were entered with TRAC Development Team, Ruth & Vernz, and Alice in WillyWonderland ruling their respective divisions.

TRAC Development Team recorded the fastest mark in the relay with runner Josh Joson and biker Jojo Valencia combining for 1:07:26 to take the first place honors in the men’s division. Just For Fun’s Jalen Lucido and Jomer Enriquez registered 1:10:25 to notch second place, while Team BAH!’s Vhoei Francia and Rusty Valino came in third with a time of 1:11:53.

Bikers work their way uphill in Marpi. (Teddy Corpus)

In the women’s relay, Ruth Jie Sun and Vernice Ronda of Ruth & Vernz submitted 1:27:23 to top the division. Loco Ladies’ Astrid Poole and Pamela Walsh (1:28:32) and Jerrilyn & Weng’s Jerrilyn Castillo and Roweno Houk (1:29:26) completed the Top 3.

Alice in WillyWonderland’s Alice Xiu and Willy Barbo prevailed in the mixed relay event after recording 1:11:38 and were joined in the podium by Team Pasaway’s Julie Felipe and Jiel Buco (1:13:56) and Yu-Noh!’s Yuki Rechucher and Noe Valdisimo (1:14:17).

Meanwhile, TRAC would like to thank the following for supporting its season-ending competition: TanHoldings, MARPAC, DFS Saipan, Department of Public Safety, Grace Christian Academy Senior Class, Shelfa Gaviola, Butch Sublemente, Rosalio Quintos, Rey Tentia, and all the race volunteers.

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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