Signature events draw crowd Print E-mail
Monday, 31 December 2012 05:27

By Saipan Tribune

XTERRA Saipan Championship participants rush to the waters off Micro Beach during the swim leg of the XTERRA World's Crown Jewel. (Saipan Tribune)The CNMI's signature competitions soldiered on in 2012 despite the economic challenges the Commonwealth faced.

The 2012 Saipan Marathon drew the most participants among the competitions held in the CNMI, luring nearly 800 runners in March. Saipan's runner Mamiko Oshima-Berger ruled the women's marathon, Beijing's Shuai Yang took the men's crown, and former Olympian Eric Wainaina Wahinya of Kenya ruled the ultra marathon (50K).

Completing Saipan's March trifecta were the XTERRA Saipan and Tagaman Triathlon, which also drew several off-island participants.

Switzerland's Renata Bucher reclaimed the women's tiara she lost to Shonny Vanlandinham in 2011, while newcomer and Australia's Ben Allen topped the men's fielding, beating former champion and Olympian Olivier Marceau.

In the Tagaman, another first-timer won with France's Cedric Lassonde pulling off an upset over Allen, while United Kingdom's Jacqui Slack also notched her first win against Bucher.

Two more swim-bike-run events were held in the CNMI-the Tinian Turquoise Blue Triathlon and Rota Blue Triathlon-which also drew crowds from Japan and Korea.

Besides having pro triathletes, the CNMI also hosted pro beach volleyball player in the first quarter of 2012 with the staging of the Marianas Beach Volleyball Cup. Pros from the U.S., Japan, New Zealand, and Korea were in town and played with and against local bets, while players from neighboring Guam also joined the annual competition.

Japan's Hiroyo Kenada and Mengumi Murakami with their coach Tsuyoshi “Go” Mochizuki, Ty Loomis, and John Carlucci of the U.S., and New Zealand's Kurt Peters also conducted clinics at the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan.

The 2012 Hell of Marianas Century Cycle Race was the last signature competition the CNMI hosted this year. Unfortunately, the 100K race was also the last for host Pacific Islands Club.

The around-the-island bike race lured 170 bikers, including a big group of riders from Russia, Japan, and Korea.


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