The 2019 Saipan Marathon’s photo booth was not big enough to accommodate Agape Christian School’s 76 runners—the most that the Torchbearers fielded in the annual race.
“This is a new record for our school, as we have only 56 last year. Plus this year, we also have one parent and two staff members joining the race,” Agape principal Jimeian Pang said last Saturday, as she patiently waited for every runner from their school to cross the finish line at the American Memorial Park.
Pang did not have to wait that long, as majority of Agape runners rounded out the course with respectable times and several even won in their age groups.
In the 10K event, Ray Qi Jie (50:34) and Meihui Ou (1:09:36) ruled the boys and girls U15 age group. Then in the half marathon, Kristy Wang Xinyi (2:33:46) and Steve Qiu Kailun (1:59:13) were named champions in the U15 division, while Iris Zhang He and Kobe Yang (4:47:34) topped the full marathon event for the 16 to 19 age group.
Overall, Agape had 44 runners in the 10K, 20 in the half marathon, and 12 in the full.
“Seeing our students crossed the finish line gave me the greatest satisfaction last Saturday. The sense of accomplishment when they completed the whole course is so valuable to them and its memories will stay with them forever,” Pang said.
The Agape principal added that they encourage their students to join sports, specifically running, to teach them lessons in life.
“I always tell them that life is like running a marathon. Many people start out together and very often they will find themselves running alone. Sometimes they will feel like quitting, sometimes they fall and develop self-pity, but no matter what happens. life has to continue just like they have to continue running no matter what,” Pang said.
“When the going gets tough, the tough gets going. They have to take one step at a time until they reach the finish line because I am there waiting for them. It’s the same in life…you keep going despite all the difficulties and hardship because this won’t last forever. And life will end one day and Jesus, our Lord and Savior, will be waiting for us in heaven to welcome us home,” she added.
Meanwhile, after the Saipan Marathon, Agape runners will be focusing on the 2019 McDonald’s Public School System All Schools Track and Field Championships, which will start its series of qualifiers next week at the Oleai Sports Complex, while the events final round will be held in May.