Marianas Variety

Last updateWed, 23 Aug 2017 12am

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    Tuesday, August 22, 2017-3:00:04P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

What to know about KONQER Saipan

KONQER Sports makes its CNMI debut on September 9 at the Governor Eloy S. Inos Peace Park with KONQER Saipan: King of the Hill.

To date, KONQER has successfully hosted obstacle course challenges on both Guam and Palau and is set to make Saipan its latest playground.

At face value, KONQER seems like a Micronesia version of Ninja Warrior or Ultimate Beastmaster with a touch of mud run flavor and Pacific Islands twist.

However, one of the key things that separate KONQER from comparable obstacle course events is the wider range of difficulty levels it offers in order to cater to more than just the hardcore athlete.

KONQER offers a challenge for any type of participant.  Photo Credit KONQER

Variety linked up with KONQER Sports President Kelli Wedd and Chief Experience Officer Kaz Endo to learn more about KONQER itself and get the answers to the questions everyone’s asking.

What is KONQER and how did it come about?

KAZ: KONQER, as a concept, was brewing as early as 2014 and in 2015 it hatched.

Originally, we discussed mirroring national events such as Spartan Race and Tough Mudder, but quickly came to the conclusion that, that wasn’t going to be a sustainable concept in Guam or the region for a variety of reasons.

Now that we are in 2017, that strategic decision has been rewarded with the success of KONQER.

Quite simply, our path of recreation as a primary reason vs. pure competition was spot on. I’ve been planning the debut of Palau and Saipan KONQER for almost two years now.

We are proud to say that this year our region has its very own Obstacle Event Circuit! We plan to continue to grow this brand into other types of event categories outside of just obstacle races. But KONQER, the obstacle race, will always remain our “Suberbowl” if you will.

Who is Team KONQER?

KAZ: The KONQER Sports team is lean but certainly not mean. We are nice people.

As CEO, I am lead designer on the courses and workout the logistics of the race with governments, agencies and key stakeholders. I’m also brand strategist.

KELLI: As president, I manage communications, marketing and sales.

Also, a great deal of thanks and credit must be paid to all of our local event sponsors, partners, agencies and organizations that also hop on board and make the event happen.

Marianas Visitors Authority has always been on the forefront of sports tourism in the region, and we are both excited and grateful to be included in their already stellar event lineup!

How is KONQER a unique and special experience as compared to other obstacle based challenges?

KAZ: Another known entity, Trench Mudder, actually debuted on KONQER’s first course K-1, a year after our first event. It’s organized by a former employee of mine and we wish them well. Their trajectory, as far as I can tell, is to appeal to the hardcore athlete.

But our approach is quite different. We don’t fall into any conventional category.

Some would say we are more “Ninja Warrior” now than any mud run type of event. Still, others would claim we are something entirely unique packaged for all types of levels, thanks to our different entry paths for participants.

For those looking for the “beast” or most challenging version of our course, we offer the “Enduro.” It basically pushes contestants to their physical and mental limits. It’s not for everyone and nor should it be. It’s a special version of the course designed for those who want punishment.

The recreational paths, which are the most popular versions of the course, are our purest offer—“Wellness through Play.”

Our courses are meant to be fun and addictively challenging without being impossible. It encourages people to have fun playing again.

For the first timers, I highly recommend forming a team and doing the course together via “completion” or “rally” format. Either version is not timed and is extremely fun. Businesses looking to do something different for their staff and management to bring out their best through team building events, should definitely put together a “Business Team.”

Regardless of what path you choose, we encourage all-day play. So this means, you can do it solo, then form a team, then switch teams and do it all over again.

At the end of the day, you’ll wonder what’s been keeping you from being more active. That’s the concept of Wellness through Play.

KELLI: One of my favorite things about KONQER is that all of our events offer free entries to kids 14 and under. During our first event in 2015, we loved seeing families tackling the course together, helping each other through some of the more difficult obstacles, cheering each other on and just having a great time.

Instead of focusing on creating a separate race, we decided to do what we could to encourage the kids to participate right alongside the adults. And that’s why we decided to make all youth entries free!

It’s exciting to see these kids having a blast during the event, while not realizing that they are also exercising.

Hopefully, we are helping to spark a love for staying active and enjoying the outdoors that will continue throughout their lives. We are so thankful to have such wonderful sponsors and community partners who share in that vision.

What can people expect at KONQER Saipan: King of the Hill?

KAZ: The event has a shot-gun start at 9 a.m. for all those interested in doing the inaugural run and swim—which is also mandatory for Enduro.

But for those who prefer to just do the land-only course, we will schedule you in different “heats” or “wave” starts. It’s pretty convenient for those working jobs but want to experience KONQER.

Each year we select a different location for the course, so this is the only year you’ll be able to do KONQER at the Peace Park.

Next year, we’ll announce a different location in Saipan, Tinian or Rota so that each year, the experience is truly unique. We don’t repeat the same course every year.

So if you miss this one, chances are you may have to wait a long time before you get an opportunity to do the previous course that we’ve done.

How much will KONQER cost and how can people sign up?

KAZ: Our pricing for entry is simple. Get them early and save money. We currently have early-bird pricing for both online on our website www.konqersports.com and offline by visiting and signing up at MVA.

One great aspect of our event is that once you pay, you can repeat the course as many times as you want, doing it solo or teaming up with others. Again, this is due to our Wellness through Play motto.

Visitors to the island can also sign up and experience this signature event is presented by MVA. We’ll have special accommodations for our visitors and make sure they have a blast on their free day from pre-scheduled optional tours and such.

KELLI: Children 14 and under are free but require a parent or adult to accompany them.

Students 15-17 are $40 fixed, while Adults 18 and over start from $75 and will go up as the event draws nearer.

Same day registration is $150.00 so I encourage everyone to sign up early.  

We also have special promo codes on Google and if you subscribe to our email list or join us on Facebook, we regularly put out specials there as well.

How can you convince those who are on the fence about participating to give King of the Hill a try?

KAZ: If you’re on the fence, I can certainly understand. Everyone hesitant feels a little insecure. They’re either “too old” or “not in good enough shape to do this.” I hear this all the time. But guess what? That’s not what I see out on the course.

I see people of all shapes and sizes out there smiling, laughing and helping each other get through one challenge after another. And in the end, when they all ring the cow bell at our finish line, aka our KONQER’D line, the burst of self-satisfaction and pride can’t be overstated.

KONQER isn’t merely to rock your six-pack or show off how strong and tough you are; although we certainly have plenty of people who are in super physical shape!

Instead, KONQER is about breaking down the walls ofself-imposed limits that we’ve created for ourselves as we get older.

So to those who are sitting on the fence, get off your butt, make some calls, and form your teams! We’re coming to town to make the largest playground you’ve ever seen in Saipan and it’s time to be a kid again! And if you still are a kid, we especially want you out there playing. Put down the electronics and the candy bars and get out and play.