Eda along with Beo Ngirchongor, who a few years ago was member of another winning team, and veterans Mamiko Oshima-Berger, Jack Kabiriel and Tony Ichiou formed the fastest squad that made the early morning run up north, completing the 13.7-mile long race (22 kilometers) from the Pacific Islands Club-Saipan in San Antonio to the Last Command Post in Marpi in 1:32:24.
Team Usagi, which means rabbit in Japanese, was more than 6 minutes slower than last year’s winners Road Runners (1:26:50) composed of Eda, Kabiriel, Ichiou, Manny Aaron and Jessie James. Team Usagi’s time, however, was four minutes faster than the 1:36:35 recorded by Shane & The Cool Guys of Ronald Villafria, Shane Fabiana, Nonie Eugenio, and Charlie Sendin in 2012.
Team Dark Horse, composed of Get Fit CNMI members led by Shane “Pikaboo” Alvarez and Vince “The Clinch” Masga, was 4 minutes and 6 seconds behind Usagi as they crossed the finish line in 1:36:18.
Team Swoldiers, which literally means someone who is strong physically and mentally in the urban dictionary and was one of the four squads supported by the US Army Reserve, came in third at 1:39:48.
For Chris, Candy Cane Crushers, and Last Minute were the other Army Reserve teams and they were composed of soldiers of the 302nd Quartermaster Company, DET 1 and 100th Battalion, and family, and guests.
Team For Chris, with Joseph Villacrusis as team captain, finished eighth overall (1:59:06), Candy Cane Crushers—wearing red-colored, knee-high socks—came in 10th at 2:20:38, while the Jason Tarkong-led Team Last Minute was 11th (2:21:36).
The Finishers (4th, 1:45:48); Hyatt Thrive (5th, 1:48:23); Chasing Booties (6th, 1:54:03); Team Milan (7th, 1:54:37); and Team Vicente (9th, 2:12:13) were the other competing squads.
Meanwhile, Saipan Swim Club Trident topped the youth division, reaching the Last Command Post at 1:45:59 followed closely by the Saipan Community School Tsunamis (1:50:34).
Team SSC Juniors placed third at 2:22.18 after a second SSC team, which would have finished third with its 1:48.09, was disqualified after having only three members.
Six individuals made the solo run with Manny Sitchon and Tiffany Lin emerging as the fastest male and female runners after submitting times of 1:37: 51 and 1:42:15, respectively.
Max Simian (1:42:08), Chang Whang Jang (1:58:31), and Steven Johnson (1:59: 40) were the other male participants, while Yumiko Mizuno (1:52: 56) was the other female runner.
The Top 3 teams in the adult and youth divisions received chocolates and other gift items, while prizes from different sponsors were given away in the raffle.
Members of each team alternated in running one mile each until they completed the 13.7-mile journey to Marpi. The island relay was Northern Marianas Athletics’ final event for the year in their continued effort of promoting physical fitness and healthy lifestyle. (Jon Perez)