Sildrey, Akiko top NMA 10K Road Race


Sildrey Veloria and Akiko Miller topped their respective divisions in the Northern Marianas Athletics 10K Road Race last Saturday.

Out of 32 other runners, Veloria came in first overall with a sub-43 minute 10K at 42:25, while Miller came in first in the women’s division and second overall at 43:35.

Miller broke the previous women’s record held by Noriko Jim which was 43:50.2.

Chad Taflinger came in second behind Veloria with an even 47:47 and third was Adam Walsh with 51:15.

Ann Bang came in second after Miller with a time of 53:14; and Shawna Brennfleck was third place with 54:59.

Veloria said that his 10K time was his personal best. The course itself, according to him, was fast and easy. “After running a lot of hills, it felt a lot easier, but then again, there wasn’t that much competition,” he said. “I wasn’t able to push my pace as much as I wanted, but overall it was a good race.”

He then thanked NMA and Run Saipan for “putting out a great event. I won’t be running without them. I feel like running is boring when there’s no competition or event to look forward to.”

For Miller, she said it was “Good weather, not too hot, not raining and a very organized course. Volunteers lead the race by bicycle [and] it was safe for runners because [it was] still dark in the early morning. All aid stations [were] cheering and supporting us. [The] timing system was perfect. I was able to confirm my official time [a] few hours later. I want to say thank you to NMA, Run Saipan, and aid-station volunteers.”

She added, “I am happy with my time. I had [a] knee injury for 5 months and I was worried I [couldn’t] run anymore, but I like to exercise and did not stop walking and swimming. Maybe it was a good recovery for me. I learned controlling running distance and speed etc. because I am not [a] young runner. I have to be more careful than before.”

“I was running behind Sildrey 100m to 200m all the way. [I] check my laps every 1K then try to keep my pace. After 4K it was very hard but I could push myself,” she said. “And I want to say may [he] rest in peace to Jack Kabiriel. I remember his great running form. He was [a] very strong runner in [the] CNMI.”

Before the race, participants held a moment of silence as a tribute to the late Ketson “Jack” Kabiriel for two minutes and six seconds—his personal best in the 800m. Kabiriel’s 10K personal best was a sub-38 minutes.

Robin Sapong, NMA general secretary, said about the race, “the reason why we brought up this race when the [Saipan Marathon] was canceled, some of the runners wanted an event… We were hoping to go for a half marathon but there’s quite a lot of construction going on down south… So we just held a 10K pretty much for our community to come out and join.” 

NMA thanked the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., Run Saipan, and the Commonwealth Cancer Association, Saipan International School, Department of Public Safety, PDI, CCVI Canoe Federation, The Shack, and volunteers. 

Results of the CHCC Oral Cancer Awareness 5K Walk/Run will be posted in the next issues of Saipan Tribune.

Leigh Gases
Leigh Gases is the youngest reporter of Saipan Tribune and primarily covers community related news, but she also handles the utilities, education, municipal, and veterans beats. Contact Leigh at

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