Run Saipan volunteer off to college
One of the vital cogs behind Run Saipan’s series of underground events is leaving the CNMI to continue his college education in Hawaii.
Jalen Lucido, one of Run Saipan’s volunteers, will be going off-island this Saturday, bound for the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
“My major is Elementary Education with a specialty in multilingual learners. I actually was already enrolled since August of 2019 and I did a whole school year in the university before coming back to Saipan for the summer. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic I was unable to travel back to Hawaii and all of my classes were fully online through Zoom,” he told Saipan Tribune.
The 23-year-old Marianas High School alumnus said despite being active in the track and field scene on Saipan the past year, he doesn’t expect to all of a sudden join the Rainbow Warriors’ track and field team.
“I don’t think I’ll be joining the track team in my school. I only do running and cycling for fun and races for the thrill and experience of it. If there is ever a track club in Hawaii, I’ll definitely join them for training sessions. I would mostly train for running, but for biking I am not too sure about it yet. Maybe sometime in the future when I get to meet some friends that cycle,” he said.
Looking back, Lucido shared that he became a volunteer of Run Saipan when his coach, the group’s coordinator Edward Dela Cruz, decided to do monthly 5-kilometer races.
“He would tell me routes that he had planned for that month’s 5K and our job as staff is to run the routes at least once or twice to make sure we get the distance right. I became a volunteer because simply I wanted to help my coach out and it also helps me decide my run for the day when we route out the course. Being a host for a running club is a tough job and so I just wanted to help Edward lessen the load for his part. And since I have the free time to do so, why not help out,” he said.
And this dedication comes from someone who didn’t do any track at all in high school. “I did not join track in high school. All I did in high school was play basketball and video games. Looking back at it now, I wish I added track and field to that list.”
The son of Joey and Gemma Lucido of Chalan Kanoa said the fulfillment he gets from running and his other passion, biking, is that these hobbies keep him in shape.
“They improve the cardiovascular system, stamina, endurance, and helps you lose calories for weight lost. You also get that runner’s high and you get to meet people that enjoy the same thing as you do and it gives you something to do instead of staying at home.”
As for how he got started in biking, Lucido said he got his first bike when he was just 12 years old and it had training wheels.
“It was scary and hard to try and balance yourself when riding two wheels the first time but once you get used to it, is it a fun experience. I started off riding with a mountain bike then moved on to riding a road bike. Riding on a mountain bike and road bike is very different from each other because in a road bike you’re kind of slouching where as a mountain bike not so, and plus the stability on a road bike is much less than on a mountain bike.”
His coach, Dela Cruz, said he has mixed emotions with Lucido going off to college and leaving Saipan.
“I’m sad to see him leave but I’m very happy for him. He has great opportunities in Hawaii. He has developed exponentially has a runner. He can take what he learned here and continue to grow out there.”
He added that Lucido is a very big part of Run Saipan and the club will be missing a very invaluable piece moving forward.
“He made a lot of contribution. Our races are always Saturdays and he’s had to juggle helping with his online classes which shows his commitment. He’s always with me when we have to measure our race courses. Then switched to timer or check in or both on race days. The hardest thing to do in any sport competition is getting volunteers to facilitate it. It’s even harder to get dedicated and committed ones like him,” he said.
While he’s excited to go back to face-to-face learning in Hawaii, Lucido said he’ll definitely miss being able to see the running community in one place that his stint as a volunteer with Run Saipan provided.
“Getting to meet new people and make new friends is surely exciting and we already have one thing in common which is we love running. Another thing I will miss is routing each month’s 5K Underground race and to see what people will go through when race day comes.”
Asked what he’ll miss most about the island, Lucio said it’s the simple fact that everything is not too far from each other.
“Your house, grocery stores, school, work, etc. is all close by compared to the state side. It would only take you 10-15 minutes to get you where you want to go, also depending on where you go. The breathtaking views that this island offers, sunrises, and sunsets and no one can beat out local food on Saipan. I will surely miss my Run Saipan family and also my kababayans in biking.”
Before bidding his home island goodbye, Lucio left some advice to those who want to start into running and biking.
“My message to the island’s running and cycling communities is that I am thankful to have met every single one of them. They help me build motivation to keep running and biking especially when they are done with a workout and I see it on Strava. Always keep safe when training and good luck to any future races they will be participating. I will surely miss seeing the running community every time there is our monthly 5K underground races and to the biking community I will surely miss seeing all of them every early Saturday and Sunday morning,” he said.