Running community welcomes return of Saipan Marathon


Run Saipan president Edward Dela Cruz Jr., left and seen here manning the start/finish line of last Saturday’s Women’s 10K Run with national coach Dr. Ron Snyder, welcomes the return of the Saipan Marathon this year after a two-year sabbatical. (MARK RABAGO)

After a year of absence, the Saipan Marathon is back but in a scaled-down version as the organizing Marianas Visitors Authority is only offering the half marathon, 10K, and 5K distances this year due to logistical issues.

Full scale or not the local running community is ecstatic nonetheless and is embracing the return of the event dubbed in the past as the “Festival of Runs.”

Northern Marianas Athletics president Ramon Tebuteb is proud that the Saipan Marathon is again on the sports event calendar, especially since it originated from the sports federation.

“We’re very happy to participate and we’ve always been part of the Saipan Marathon. This originated from the Northern Marianas Athletics and then it turned into the MVA signature event. Because the road races and the standards that require them comes from us we were able to facilitate the certification of the course. When they were doing the Saipan Marathon awhile back it wasn’t certified so it was significant that it be certified for qualifications and to allow pros to come here and participate. It’s standardized and good for pros,” he said.

Run Saipan president Edward Dela Cruz Jr. said it’s absolutely amazing to see MVA bringing back the half marathon.

“Forever grateful for them and Northern Marianas Athletics. We can do a 5K or 10K anytime but this is what serious runners look forward to and have been begging for since the shutdown. The half is also a distance anyone can do regardless of fitness level. This is also a great opportunity to advertise and bring in Guam’s elite runners to compete on the table before the Mini Games. I for one cannot wait for a highly electrifying and hyped atmosphere and experience for us runners this year since its coming back from lockdown for the runners. Can you imagine our anticipation waiting for two long years for this? So, thank you MVA and NMA!” he said.

Triathlon Association of the CNMI president Manny Sitchon echoed what Tebuteb and Dela Cruz said about the return of the Saipan Marathon, adding that it would only work wonders in making the community a lot healthier and fitter as participants will now start training for the event.

“The return of the Saipan Marathon is good news to the island’s running enthusiasts as well as to the community. It is one of the most well-attended sporting activities in the island that is in line with TRAC’s aspiration for a healthy lifestyle. TRAC fully supports the return of the event by manning one of the water stations along the race course. We would like to congratulate the MVA and its support group,” he said.

Set for April 9, the last day to register for the Saipan Marathon 2022’s half-marathon, 10K, and 5K is Friday, April 1, at 11:59pm. Registration is open at and fees are $55 for all three courses for both international and resident participants. Special rates for CNMI students only with valid student identification are $40 for the 10K and 5K.

The event is sponsored by Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands. In-kind contributors are Century Hotel, Serenity Hotel, and Aqua Resort Club Saipan. Aid stations will be provided by Saipan World Resort, Crowne Plaza Resort Saipan, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Triathlon Association of the CNMI, IT&E, Aqua Resort Club Saipan, Kensington Hotel Saipan, Coral Ocean Resort, and Pacific Islands Club Saipan. Supporters are Dept. of Public Safety, Dept. of Public Works, American Memorial Park, Division of Fire & Emergency Medical Services, Div. of Parks & Recreation, and Marianas Health Services.

The race follows some of Saipan’s most scenic roadways, starting and ending at Micro Beach and American Memorial Park and providing stunning views of the azure blue lagoon along the Beach Road. Race packet pick-up will be available on April 8, 2022, from 5pm to 6:30pm at the American Memorial Park amphitheater. Start time on April 9 is 5:45am for the half-marathon, 6am for the 10K, and 6:10am for the 5K.

Awards will be presented to the Top 3 overall male and Female finishers for the Half Marathon, 10K and 5K. In addition, only the first place male and female finishers in their respective age division category will receive an award. There will be no age divisions for the 5K Run.

The race is a World Athletics™-AIMS Certified Course, as World Athletics™ has agreed to extend the measurement certificates for another 12 months for the Saipan Half Marathon and 10K.

For more information, visit The Marianas Calendar at or contact MVA Community Projects coordinator Ed Diaz at 1.670.664.3210 or

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at

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