Run The Marianas: A family affair


The Ruszala family poses for a photo during a break in its hike at El Toro. (Contributed Photo)

After two weeks and more than 2,000 combined miles, the Run The Marianas is turning out to be a family affair than a race with fathers and mothers teaming up with their kids, teachers and students, co-workers, and friends moving forward to their 460-mile journey.

Brad Ruszala, his wife Kathy, and their kids, Keoni and Leilani, are among the family teams entered in the virtual run organized by Saipan International School and Northern Marianas Athletics. The Runnings Ruszalas have reached the first island stop of the race from Farallon De Pajaros to Rota after making it to Maug (42-mile mark) last Oct. 25.

Twelve islands are still ahead of the Runnings Ruszalas’ way before the team makes it to Rota and though it’s a long race, the family is enjoying the journey.

“So far, we’ve taken the kids on road runs, trail runs, and hikes. It’s been a lot of fun and we accumulate four times the miles when we participate in each activity together,” Brad said.

Martin Jambor enjoys a light jog in Prague in the Czech Republic. (Contributed Photo)

The Run The Marianas has a concept different from the usual virtual events that have mushroomed at this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Runners/walkers can log miles not just by running on the road, but everywhere, including on treadmill

“This challenge is a great way for Kathy and I to keep our children active and to show them the fun side of fitness. One of the great aspects of Run the Marianas is that we’re able to track down each island as we rack up the mileage,” Ruszala added.

As the Ruszalas are exploring the jungles of Saipan, Martin Jambor, his wife Sarka, and their son Quido, on the other hand, are gaining mileage for the Run the Marianas while feasting their eyes on the beauty of “Hundred-spired Prague” in the Czech Republic.

“Prague’s streets are pretty much empty and more quiet compare to normal pre-pandemic days. I remember Prague always being full of tourists and a very crowded old town. In these days, you can explore the city and all small tiny streets with meeting almost no people. Our daily run in the city is more of a pleasure than challenge. I always wish I can bring all of my friends from Saipan and show them the beauty of Prague,” said Martin, who acknowledged race director and SIS headmaster Ron Snyder for the unique way of holding the Run The Marianas.

Saipan International School students get ready to run at the Oleai Sports Complex track oval. (Contributed Photo)

“It is such a great idea, especially in these pandemic days all around the world. It is so important to have something to focus on, to look forward to—simply to see the light through the tunnel,” said Martin, who named their squad TeamCzechMate.

Besides the Jambors and Ruszalas, the Run The Marianas also drew school and class teams, running buddies, and co-workers, as they spent extra time with each other to log mileage in a bid to move from one island to another.

As of last Wednesday, the SIS 10th Grader is leading the team race after reaching Alamagan (214-mile mark) and is followed by EA Academy, which had already made it to Pagan (175-mile point).

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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