We have had a packed-full weekend so far. In addition to BR's end-of-season "Soccer Festival," Saipan's "Festival of Runs" and the annual "Flame Tree Arts Festival" here on Saipan, the girls also got a special surprise at a birthday party they attended...
The trees are not fully in bloom yet, but that's what they looked like last year at their peak:
At the Festival, artists from around Micronesia come out to display and sell their work, and musicians and dancers perform. Good food, good people, good times. That was Friday evening.
Saipan's Festival of Runs is a joint NMI and Japanese-run event and started at 4am on Saturday. There are four distances to choose from: 50K, Marathon, Half Marathon, and 10K. The course is mostly flat, with a little bit of incline in the first half of the Marathon and then an added bit of challenge for 50K runners as they do a loop up Capital Hill and back down (phew).
I participated in the Half and our run was completely flat and followed Beach Rd. from American Memorial Park down to PIC and then back again. Our start was at 5am, an hour after the longer races began, because it is still dark and not as hot. It rained a bit, mostly a drizzle and that seemed to keep things cooler than usual.
Oh, who am I kidding. This is Saipan, after all, where the temperature never dips below Hot and Humid.
At the turnaround, I had a chance to count how many women were ahead of me and I worked hard to catch up to, then pass this woman who held on to 3rd place for a long time:
|He is also pretty good at taking photos from a moving vehicle. :)|
|(Yay, I can stop running now!)|
|(check out those shorts)|
|Hey, look: it's me in an Asia-Pacific sandwich!|
The Marathon course does 13.1 going toward the north end of the island and then comes down and completes our loop before the finish so we got to see them as they whizzed past. The top Marathon finishers:
When I first arrived on the island last year, I was told that there are great prizes for sports events if you "place." Recently, the kids and I won a raffle after a family color run and earned a couple of free passes to a water park. I figured a raffle was our best chance of seeing any of those prizes, but then yesterday, in addition to this beautiful floral wreath, I also won $125! (*)
There were 110 people in my race, total, and 100 in the Marathon, which is quite small.
So it's also likely to be the only time I will ever place in the Women's Overall category, or win money. I hope you'll forgive me for the brag post, I felt it deserved a celebratory note!
BR had three back-to-back soccer matches on Saturday morning.
|He scored within the first 10 seconds of this match|
They won twice and tied the final match. It was a great end to a fun season.
(Since J. was busy taking care of me at my race, he only made it to the last bit of BR's final game, hence the paucity of photos to share.)
And the girls...well they had been invited to a birthday sleepover and as a surprise to the birthday girl her parents took them all out parasailing off Managaha Island! Again, no photos since I wasn't there, but I hope to be able to share some soon. Stay tuned...
(*) #1 M/W finishers in the Marathon and 50K get $1000!