Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 25 Nov 2017 12am







    Friday, November 24, 2017-9:29:27A.M.






Hell of the Marianas gets international coverage

(MVA) — This month’s Hell of the Marianas century cycle crowned another international winner, John Paul Morales of the Philippines, while also drawing attention to the Northern Mariana Islands through international media coverage, a primary goal of the Marianas Visitors Authority in organizing the annual signature event.

Morales finished the Men’s Division of the 100K road race in 3:04:51, followed by Japan’s Makoto Morimoto (3:05:33), and Philippines fellow countryman Mark John Caledo (3:06:18). In the Women’s Division of the road bike race, Guam took the first two places with Mieko Carey ( 3:33:29) and Manami Ijima (3:49:15), while Chika Fujimoto of Japan (3:56:31) rounded out the top three.

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Media interview Japanese pro cyclist and 2nd place finisher Makoto Morimoto following the Hell of the Marianas on Dec. 3 in Saipan. Chika Fukumoto of Japan, left, and Ariel Garcia of Saipan close the finish line together at the Hell of the Marianas century cycle. Media reps of Japan online magazine and meeting Marianas Visitors Authority Managing Director Christopher A. Concepcion, third from left at back, during the Hell of the Marianas welcoming dinner on Dec. 2, 2016, at Aqua Resort Club in Saipan.  During their FAM tour, the media group was accompanied by MVA marketing specialist Brenda Repeki, far right and MVA’s Japan office general manager, Takashi Ichikura.
Ronald Villafria approaches the highest elevation of the Hell of the Marianas century cycle. The picturesque nature of Marpi frames a competitor in the Hell of the Marianas century cycle. Wen Chun Hsu of Taiwan competes in the Hell of the Marianas century cycle. MVA photos

In the mountain bike race, all winners in the Male Division hailed from Saipan: Nap Dizon (3:53:52), Charlie Sendin (4:02:30), and Mark Isip (04:06:02). In the Female Division, it was Kimberlyn Hinds (5:02:45) of Tinian, Glorybel Tan (5:27:52) of Saipan, and Felicia Reynolds (05:34:39) of Saipan.   And finally, in the Relay Race, Matias/Remillosa of Tinian finished first (3:53:38), followed by 2-Go (4:08:36) and Taro Sue (4:21:12), both of Saipan.

Competitors this year also hailed from Russia, Korea, and Taiwan, with 38 of the pack of 194 cyclists coming from off-island to compete.   Meanwhile, media from Japan, China, the Philippines, Taiwan and Russia covered the event, which boasts spectacular views along Saipan’s coastline and through the islands’ interior.

“The Hell of the Marianas was a strong success again this year, with great weather and everyone finishing safely,” said MVA Managing Director Christopher A. Concepcion. “We are happy to have welcomed a number of athletes from off-island, including the winners.   At the same time, we will be looking closely at the return on investment for the event, to ensure our international exposure is worth the monetary investment being made by MVA to host the event.”

Five media outlets from China sent representatives to cover the event: fastest-developing sports platform LeSports and LeTV Sports; Fujian province popular newspaper Southeast Morning Post; leading local cycling brand Dahon stores, webpage, and WeChat; leading biking platform Biketo website, Wechat and APP; and Tourism World weekly magazine targeting social elites. The resulting media exposure in China is nearly $200,000. Joining the tour was the 4- member Action Cycling Team from Hainan University and two representatives from Giant Bicycles Hainan office. The media tour also visited Christmas in the Marianas, Managaha, 360

Revolving Restaurant, International Shooting Range in Dandan, Best Sunshine yacht, and Amigos restaurant.

Japan’s online magazines and will feature the event and an interview with pro rider Morimoto on Jan. 1 and Jan. 5, respectively, along with travel information about tourist attractions and hotels in Saipan. The magazines target bikers in their 20s to 50s who are also interested in overseas sports.   The coverage will bring the Northern Marianas nearly $30,000 in combined ad exposure value. In addition to covering the race, the magazines visited Joeten Hafadai Shopping Center, Saipan Bike Pro shop, and Bubba Gump Shrimp Restaurant.

Taiwanese female bikers Yin-Han Su (Summer) and Wen-Chun Hsu (Celine) joined the event. The two bikers are also popular sports tourism bloggers with over 30,000 fans on Facebook.   Taiwan’s EBC TV News featured the two bikers, and Travel Rich magazine also covered the event.

MVA recognized a number of sponsors and supporters of the event.   Platinum sponsors were: Philippine Airlines, Mariana Resort & Spa, DFS Saipan, Triple J Co, Gatorade, and the Tan Siu Lin Foundation. Gold Sponsors were: Island Training Solutions, Gold’s Gym, IT&E, and Hyatt Regency Saipan.   The lone Silver Sponsor was Power 99. Bronze Sponsors were: Bridge Capital LLC, Taro Sue, Saipan Bike Pro, Let’s Go, Mango Resort, and Pacific Islands Club Saipan. The event was also supported by the Department of Public Safety, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Division of Parks and Recreation, Department of Public Works, Department of Public Lands, Hawaiian Rock, and GPPC.