Tania breaks own 5,000m record

Posted on Jan 30 2023

Fordham University’s Tania Tan holds up her phone with the CNMI flag on the screen after breaking her own record in the 5,000m run of the River Hawk Invitational at the TRACK at new balance in Boston, Massachusetts. (ALEXANDRA THOMAS)

Another competition, another record for the CNMI’s prodigious racer Tania Tan.

The  21-year-old Fordham University senior finished second in the the 5,000m run of the River Hawk Invitational hold over the weekend at the TRACK at New Balance in Boston, Massachusetts.

Aside from the podium finish, the Saipan International School alumnae also broke her record in the event after crossing the finish line in 18:03.22. 

“We ran at the brand new indoor New Balance track in Boston! It was a super fun race. I felt confident going into the race and had a lot of fun slowly moving my way up throughout the race. Just the atmosphere and my teammates cheering was encouraging,” she told Saipan Tribune.

Tan said aside from the cold weather, running repeatedly on the track was the challenging part of last weekend’s event.

“Boston is colder than New York so it was super cold and windy. Thankfully we raced indoors so it wasn’t cold but the air was so dry. I think the hardest part was the amount of laps. It was 25 laps so that was mentally hard because you’re basically just running around in circles for that long, trying to keep up with people physically, too,” she said.

Asked if she’s now acclimatized to the weather in the East Coast after her brief Christmas vacation on Saipan, Tan essentially said the change in weather is literally night and day.

“The weather is much different, it’s so hot and humid on Saipan which makes it harder to run. But the cold also makes it hard to run because you’re just freezing the whole time and it feels like your body can’t warm up. Your legs feel frozen and stiff…I would still prefer running in the heat because at least my body is able to warm up and I can wear shorts and a shirt to run instead of being buried in five layers with gloves and a head warmer,” she said.

CNMI national athletics coach Dr. Ron Snyder, who is SIS headmaster and Tan’s track and field coach in high school, said there’s no question that his old ward is now the premier CNMI runner in her distances of choice.

“Tania crushed her old record by nearly a minute, making her the dominant runner in the NMI for distances of 3,000m-10,000m. The funny thing is, if we look at her mile split or her 3,000m split while running this 5K, she would have set new NMI records for both of those distances as well,” he said.

In addition to the 5,000m indoor record, Tan also holds the CNMI records in the 3,000m indoor event and three outdoor events as well (3,000m, 5,000m, and 10,000m).

“Since she joined the cross country team at Saipan International School, Tania has progressed from a great runner to a great racer,” added Snyder.

When asked what’s the difference between a great runner and a great racer, Snyder explained: “A great [distance] runner has strong endurance, good speed endurance and the ability to hold a pace. A great racer takes that and adds a strategic mind to it. They look at the pack and decide when to cede first place, when to surge forward, when to tuck themselves behind someone in the wind. They judge their ability to kick at the finish as opposed to taking an early lead. A great racer is in a constant battle.”

As for future events, Snyder said Tan will be part of the CNMI track and field team that will be traveling to Australia for the World Cross Country Championships next month.

“She will find herself in good form for this very difficult course. The challenge for her and all athletes from the northern hemisphere is that they will be running in the Australian summer and the temperature difference will be as great as 50 degrees for some of the runners. This will take some careful planning and strategy for everyone and the ability to say, ‘I need to go to the water station even though it will cost me a bit of time,’’’he said.

Mark Rabago | Associate Editor
Mark Rabago is the Associate Editor of Saipan Tribune. Contact him at Mark_Rabago@saipantribune.com
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