Anticipate the pro division in the 2017 Tagaman Triathlon 5150 to wrap up early this Saturday as seven triathletes are looking to complete the Olympic-distance course in a little over two hours.
Korean Kaon Cho, who has been racing in the longest-running triathlon event in the Pacific the past few years, is going for a 2:05:00 finish time, while another Tagaman returnee Aleksandr Dorovskikh of Russia is targeting 2:10:00. The Philippines’ Ian Solana, Maria Hodges, and Joseph Miller, who are debuting in this weekend’s race, is looking at between 2:15:00 and 2:20:00, while Hong Kong’s Ka Hung Tsang and Lawrence Wong are aiming for 2:40:00. Last year’s No. 1 overall finisher in the Olympic distance course—South Korea’s Gyu Ri Kim—timed in at 2:19:53.
This year’s Tagaman will start with a 1.5-kilometer swim in the waters off Kanoa Resort in Susupe, while the 40K bike leg will be up north with the transition and finish at the Minatchom Atdao Pavilion across the Oleai Sports Complex. For the final leg—the 10K run—triathletes will also head north and cruise along Beach Road up to the turnaround point at the Chamolinian Utt in Garapan and back to Minatchom for the finish.
“I am looking forward to the swim leg, which I learned has a piece of World War II history. It’s really nice to join the race for the first time and learn about the course and its history,” said Solana about the swim portion that will have participants swimming around the partially submerged World War II tanks.
“I will relax a bit in the swim leg and then try to get momentum in the bike before going all out in the run,” said Solana, who was among the pros that attended Tagaman’s press conference yesterday at the lobby of Kanoa Resort.
Though the swim leg is just a short course, Glenn Policare of Kanoa Resort cautioned Solana and other pros, telling them not to take other swimmers lightly, as there are some tough competitors in tomorrow’s race.
“Watch out for the Saipan Swim Club swimmers. They are fast,” Policare said.
Hodges admits she is not a very good swimmer, but is a force to be reckoned with in the bike leg.
“I will be pushing harder in the bike leg and hopefully get a good lead and stay close with the leaders, going into the run part,” said Hodges, who will battle the women’s pro division crown against Tsang, Leanne Szeto, Manami Iijima, and Emily Northrop.
Miller, on the other hand, will be aggressive right from the start, while Cho and Wong are hoping for good weather so they can finish safe.
“Olympic distance is my event and if the weather is good, I could see myself finishing early,” Cho said.
This year’s Tagaman draws 102 participants with 43 of them from off-island. Forty-six are entered in the solo race and 14 in the relay/team. Nearly half of the off-island triathletes joining tomorrow’s Tagaman are from South Korea (20 participants).
Motorists and pedestrians are reminded to take extra caution on race day, especially in the morning, and give way to bikers and runners.