Russia’s Aleksandr Dorovskikh and Guam’s Manami Iijima crossed the finish line of the Tagaman Triathlon way ahead of their competitors to rule the pro division of last Saturday’s race.
Dorovski completed the 1.5-kilometer swim, 40K bike, and 10K run in 2:12:01, over six minutes ahead of the Philippines’ Joe Miller (2:18:17) to take the top honors in the men’s pro category. In the women’s division, Iijima was crowned the champion after clocking in at 2:12:52, more than eight minutes faster that the Philippines’ Maria Hodges (2:21:04).
The Russian was the first men’s pro out of the water and 10th overall, posting 26:17. He was closely followed by Miller, which had a split time of 26:19. The swim leg started in the waters off Kanoa Resort and had participants passing through World War II tanks before finishing the race in the waters off Minatchom Atdao Pavilion across the Oleai Sports Complex.
After the closely fought swim leg, Dorovskikh left Miller as the former was first to hop on his bike and head north, while the latter was still fixing his shoes.
“I took a few more minutes in the swim-bike transition so Alex somehow got a good lead,” said Miller.
From a less than a minute lead, Dorovskikh reached the bike-run transition area about 5 minutes ahead of Miller. Dorovskikh finished the bike race, which had its turnaround point at Banzai Cliff, in 56:59—the fastest in the entire field. The Russian was also the only biker to complete the bike leg in less than an hour.
The Tagaman returnee went on to ease his way to a first place finish in the weekend event after submitting 45:00 in the final leg of the race. The run portion of the course had participants heading up to the Chamolinian Utt in Garapan and back to the pavilion.
“It was a very good race. I had no problems with the swim and bike legs. In the run, the first part was OK because it rained, but on my way back it was hot,” Dorovskikh said.
Miller, who had splits times of 1:00:48 (bike) and 49:00, did not attempt to catch the Russian in the last part of the race as the Filipino pro had a few more competitions this year, including the XTERRA World Championships in Hawaii.
“I don’t want to take a big risk because I may re-injure myself and won’t be able to do my remaining races this year,” said Miller, who is still recovering from a knee injury. “I am happy with my time and the way I raced today.”
Miller was third overall behind Iijima, who won her first major triathlon event.
The former Guam national swimmer was the age group champion in a tournament in the Philippines a few months ago before she decided to join the pro category in Tagaman this year.
“I’m glad I did it and won. The swim and bike legs were fun, not so much pressure. However, in the run leg, it was a bit harder because I am racing against myself. It was more of a mental test for me because I was running alone and I don’t know if I am going to push myself harder or slow down a bit,” Iijima said.
The 24-year-old swimmer turned triathlete had split times of 21:33: 1:05:20, and 43:00. She was third overall out of the water behind siblings Jinnosuke and Lennosuke Suzuki, sixth in the bike, and the fastest in the run among the pros.
Hodges had a better time than Iijima in the bike part with the former submitting 1:05:02, however the Philippine bet struggled a bit at the start of the race, no thanks to defective goggles.
“My goggles have leaks, so I had to stop a couple of times to remove and put them back,” said Hodges, who finished the swim leg in 25:17 and the run portion in 49:00.
Hodges hopes to be back for next year’s race and if she makes it, she will try to come early to familiarize herself with the course and the weather.
“It was hot on my way back to the finish line and I started to get headaches,” said Hodges, who is based in California and first made a trip to the Philippines before arriving on Saipan last Thursday morning.
Hong Kong’s Leanne Szeto (2:22:18) and Ka Hung Tsang (2:25:50), and Saipan’s Emily Northrop (4:02:36) completed the list of pro finishers in the women’s field. In the men’s division, Dorovskikh and Miller were joined by South Korea’s Kaon Cho (2:21:31), the Philippines’ Ian Solana (2:22:53), and Saipan’s Nap Dizon (2:39:27).
SOURCE: SAIPAN TRIBUNE By Roselyn Monroyo