With COVID-19 cases on the rise globally, sports has seen many of its major events canceled. However, the Saipan Marathon was able to go off as planned last weekend with more than 700 runners from 13 different countries going head to head in one of the last sporting events in the Pacific region.

For the past three weeks Guam’s professional triathlete Manami Martin trained in Saipan to help her get ready for two of the bigger races in Saipan – the half marathon and Tagaman Triathlon race.

Martin, one of the island’s more decorated professional athletes, earned the female division title in the half marathon. According to Martin, the feeling of just competing in the race was a happy one as athletes saw event after event canceled.

“I think with all the cancellations and postponements of events, racing is an unknown,” Martin said. “It definitely was fun racing, and it might be a while until we get to race again. Everyone was so grateful.”

Although Martin trains many hours a day to be at a very competitive level in three different disciplines – running, swimming and biking – at the end of the day, she said she just wants to compete, but she realizes that for the safety of the masses and herself, postponing the races is the right thing to do.

“As a professional athlete, when races are canceled, it is financially tough because we can’t make an income,” Martin said. “Mentally, it is even tougher because we don’t know what we are training for. But on the positive side, we have more time to train and get creative on what we can do to keep moving forward. My coach says it's a little bump in the road, but things will get back to normal.”

Shortly before the start of the Saipan Marathon, officials had another announcement that cast a pall over the event – more than 100 competitors had already withdrawn from the Tagaman Triathlon, which is still set for June 30. Martin said she thinks that it would be a matter of time before they officially postpone the race.

Despite the cancellations, Martin is keeping upbeat and continuing to find innovative ways to train.

“I was so grateful to have raced a half marathon and get in two solid weeks of training,” she said. “I wanted to stay in Saipan to get another block of training in, but not knowing what will happen, I came back to Guam to be with my family.”

If there is a mandatory quarantine put in place on Guam, Martin said she would train at home on her stationary bike or start running in her living room.