Over 600 join JP Hero Run


NMI football players set their timers as they head out to the course at the CPA Airport Field for the JP Hero Run Virtual Edition last Dec. 12. (Contributed Photo)

More than 600 participated in the 2020 JP Hero Run Virtual Edition as they completed the 5K and 10K events last week.

On and off-island runners, students, members of non-government organizations, private companies, family members, government employees, and sports associations joined the annual event that was initially scheduled to be an on-course race for April, but was moved later this year and became a virtual run due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Raymond Zapanta, assistant manager of the Tan Siu Lin Foundation, which organized the event, this year’s JP Hero Run drew 613 participants with 501 of them entered in the competitive race (10K) and 112 in the 5K run. Runners were given the chance to do the single run between Nov. 20 and Dec. 20 at any course of their choice.

The Northern Mariana Islands Football Association had the most participants in the event with 109, as it had its national men’s, women’s and youth teams racing at the CPA Airport Field and Junior National Academy players running at the NMI Soccer Training Center in Koblerville. Tinian residents also participated as well as students from Agape Christian School.

Three of the five members of the NMI Women’s National Team made it to the Top 5 of the competitive 10K race with Kaithlynn Chavez placing second (45:45) behind off-island participant Melissa Paauwe (39:31). Veteran Saipan runner Noriko Jim came in third place with her 46:11, while Chavez’s teammates Khristelle Itaas (54:47) and Nathanette Blas (58:19) tounded put the Top 5.

Participants and organizers of the JP Hero Run on Tinian pose for a group photo after the event. (Contributed Photo)

In the non-competitive 10K women’s division, NMI youth team member Aubrey Castro topped the field after checking in at 1:02:00. Mia Abuan (1:10:37) finished second and was followed by Aubrey’s sister, Audrey (1:11:00), Allyssya Angeles (1:11:56), and Liz Phan (1:14:20).

In the men’s 10K competitive category, off-island runner Reinier Paauwe timed in at 36:17 to take the top podium. Joining him in the Top 5 were Saipan’s Shuji Kuroda (38:43), former NMI player and now New York-based Rintaro Miyawaki (39:41), Saipan’s Edward Dela Cruz Jr. (43:53) and CNMI Men’s National Team head coach and NMIFA technical director Michiteru Mita (45:14).

In the 10K non-competitive, Joseph Yap (58:57) was the top finisher, while Aaron Pamintuan (1:04:19) and Jared Pangelinan (1:43:00) were second and third, respectively.

In other results, JNA player Julie Chavez was the top female finisher in the 5K competitive race after logging 32:51, while off-island participant Kieran Paauwe (Canada) ruled the men’s division with his 24:14.

In the 5K non-competitive, Kailyn Paauwe had the best time (35:57) in the women’s division, while Kieran Paauwe posted the fastest mark (24:14) in the men’s.

Meanwhile, proceeds from the JP Hero Run will be donated to the Marianas March Against Cancer and the Commonwealth Cancer Association.

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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