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Saipan athletes dominate Go the Distance Challenge

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SEVEN Saipan athletes took on the month-long Go the Distance Challenge sponsored by Urban Fitness Guam and came out on top. 

During the whole month of July, participants had the choice of clocking in miles while biking, running or swimming. Saipan ruled the biking scene in the men's division with Mark Isip rounding up a total of 2,231.46 miles with colleague Pax Guevarra right behind him with a total of 1,756.93 miles. In the female division it was Vernice Ronda Estepa who stole the show by reaching 931.12 miles to take first place while fellow Saipan resident Sheila Isla settled for second with 785.78 miles.

In the running category, Saipan's Taro Goto took the only spot in the men's division with a total of 311.64 miles. Guam took over the women's division with Lauren Mechelle Agar in first place with 485.90 miles and Sharon Hawley in second with 463.06 miles.

In the swimming category Saipan's Yulia Aleksenko clinched first place with 70.58 miles beating Guam's Amanda Walsh who completed 60.09 miles. Saipan swimmer Florence Antonio, for his part, was another standout, completing 85.65 miles.

With Covid-19 shutting down nearly all sporting events, the challenge was an opportunity for Yulia Aleksenko to get back in the water. "We don't often have an event like this and it allowed me to challenge myself since I had more time to swim due to the pandemic,"  Aleksenko said.

Vernice Estepa rides a bike at Suicide Cliff. Contributed photo

She swam with the Dolphin Club members every day with the starting point at Guma Sakman. "The goal was to complete 30 miles but I realize that I could do more," Aleksenko said. She swam nearly two miles each day. 

Vernice Estepa said she completed the 300-mile goal as early as July 12. "But I still went on and on. I was competing with myself. I wanted to challenge my limits," she said.  She rode with her cycling buddies at least four times a week from American Memorial Park to the airport and  then to Banzai Cliff before heading back to the park. Her longest distance in one ride was 68.76 miles. " I was surprised and at the same time happy when they announced that I had the most miles for the bike challenge,” she said. “I didn’t expect to win since there were other competitors from Guam, the mainland and other countries."

The Go The Distance Challenge aims to raise funds for the Covid-19 frontliners and encourage people to participate in sports and other activities in a safe and responsible manner.

November 2020 pssnewsletter

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