Saipan Marathon 2019 was the largest ever, showing continued growth potential for an event that attracted 1,063 registrants from13 countries and territories around the world.
Japan runner and 40-year-old Yoshiyuki Ono led the men’s division full marathon finishers with his 2:38:22 and was followed by Taku Fujiwara (2:39:39), also of Japan and Meisong Ji (2:44:13) of China. In the women’s division, Natsuko Muramatsu (3:28:25) also gave Japan a first place finish, while Saipan residents Kaylee Heath (3:32:39) Heather Taylor (3:41:39) rounded out the Top 3.
“What an incredible Saipan Marathon 2019!” Marianas Visitors Authority managing director Christopher A. Concepcion said. “When Saipan Marathon started 14 years ago, we had only 33 participants in the full marathon. Now, thanks to the outstanding support of our many partners and sponsors in both the public and private sectors, we have a race that attracts runners from around the world and is setting new records in The Marianas. Our marathon is now certified by the International Association of Athletic Federations and the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races which adds to its prestige. Overall, Saipan Marathon has great growth potential as an annual signature event of the MVA.”
Top honors in the half marathon went to China’s You Jun Jie (1:16:34) and Jia Yang (1:25:40). Genta Saito (1:16:38) of Japan finished hot on the heels of Jie, with 16-year-old Yungfeng Huang (1:17:47) of China placing third. Following Yan in the women’s division were Yang Fei We (1:33:06) of China and Sunok Hwang (1:33:21) of Korea.
In the 10K, Keith Longuski (37:58) of The Marianas edged out JeYong Yu (38:04) of Korea in the men’s division, while ChongHao Zheng (38:48) came in at third. Korea took first place in the women’s division with Sonmi Yoon recording 42:40, while Tania Tan (46:38) and Ayano Braxton (47:36), both of The Marianas, completed the Top 3.
Overall, 990 runners were at starting line for the race, including 567 for the 10K, 300 for the half marathon, and 123 for the full marathon. Participants included 373 runners from The Marianas and the U.S, 294 from mainland China, 283 from South Korea, and 67 from Japan, while others came from Guam, Russia, Philippines, Germany, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
The exclusive sponsors of this year’s marathon were Skechers, Powerade, and Northern Marianas Athletics. Platinum sponsors were IT&E, Hyatt Regency Saipan, Joint Marketing, Hotel Association of the Northern Mariana Islands. Gold sponsors are Fiesta Resort & Spa, Royal Travel, Saipan Computer Services, Saipan Apparel, and T Galleria by DFS. Silver sponsors Grandvrio Resort Saipan, Deen International, The Athlete’s Foot, Boarderline, All Star Sporting Goods, Skydive Saipan, Tokyo Jusen, Subway/Foremost/Coca-Cola, Joteten Shopping Center, Real Estate Transaction Specialist Igawa Office, and LJ’s Lawn and Care.
Aid stations were manned by Hyatt Regency Saipan, Pacific Development Inc., Grandvrio Resort Saipan, Fiesta Resort & Spa, Kanoa Resort, Coca-Cola/Foremost, Pacific Islands Club, Imperial Pacific Int’l CNMI, IT&E, Aqua Resort Club, Kensington Hotel Saipan, Tasi Tours Transportation, Saipan World Resort, Mt. Carmel School, and Marianas Base Camp.
Supporting agencies, companies, and individuals were American Memorial Park, Dept. of Public Safety, Dept. of Fire & Emergency Medical Services, Div. of Parks and Grounds, Dept. of Public Works, Dept. of Public Lands, Saipan Mayor’s Office and Dog Control Program, Hawaiian Rock Products, Marianas Health Services, Miss Marianas Celine Cabrera, and Miss Earth contestants. (PR)