Saipan Marathon shows growth potential

(Press Release) — Saturday’s (Mar. 9) Saipan Marathon 2019 was the largest ever, showing continued growth potential for an event that attracted 1,063 people from13 countries and territories around the world.

Saturday’s race also marked a new official full marathon record in The Marianas, with 40- year-old Yoshiyuki Ono of Japan leading the pack at 2:38:22. Ono was followed in the Men’s Division by Taku Fujiwara (2:39:39) of Japan and Meisong Ji (2:44:13) of China. Meanwhile, Natsuko Muramatsu (3:28:25) put Japan at the top of the Women’s Division, as well. She was followed by Kaylee Heath (3:32:39) of USA and Heather Taylor (3:41:39) of The Marianas.

View this article's accompanying photos in our gallery

“What an incredible Saipan Marathon 2019!” said Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA) Managing Director Christopher A. Concepcion. “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 runners from China, You Jun Jie (1:16:34) and Jia Yang (1:25:40), in the Men’s and Women’s Divisions, respectively. 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. They were followed by ChongHao Zheng (38:48) of China. Korea took

1st place in the Women’s Division with Sonmi Yoon (42:40), followed by Nathania Tan (46:38) and Ayano Braxton (47:36), both of The Marianas.

Overall, 990 runners took the 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 USA, 294 runners from mainland China, 283 from South Korea, 67 runners from Japan, and runners from Guam, Russia, Philippines, Germany, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Supporting as exclusive sponsors of this year’s marathon were Skechers, Powerade, and Northern Marianas Athletics. Platinum sponsors are 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.

Saipan Marathon 2010 will be held on Mar. 14, 2020. For more information, visit The Marianas Calendar at www.mymarianas.com or contact MVA Community Projects Division at 1.670.664.3210 or communityprojects@mymarianas.com.