Ko’Ko’ Road Race Features Guam Olympians

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(Tumon, Guam) — Monday, September 17, 2012 — The Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) today announced the 2012 Guam Ko’ko’ Road Race (half marathon and ekiden relay) will be held October 14, 2012 at Governor Joseph Flores Memorial Park (Ypao).  GVB also introduced the Guam Ko’ko’ Road Race sponsors, United Airlines, Pacific Islands Club, Gatorade, and KUAM AM-FM-TV, to the island’s media and running community at the Pacific Islands Club.

During today’s press conference, executives from the race sponsor organizations unveiled the 2012 Guam Ko’ko’ Road Race prizes.  GVB announced they will host the first male and female Guam residents to finish the 2012 Guam Ko’ko’ Road Race Half Marathon at the NikkanSports Toyohiragawa Marathon in May 2013, in Sapporo, Japan.  United Airlines, the official airlines for the event, will provide round trip airfare for this year’s top overall male and female finishers to return to the 2013 Guam Ko’ko’ Road Race.

Japan’s Masashi Shirotake, the Guam Ko’ko’ Road Race Half Marathon two time defending champion, is returning once again to defend his 2011 course record time of 1:12:43, courtesy of United Airlines.  Competing for the first time this year is Amy Atkinson, who has just returned from the 2012 London Olympics where she represented Guam in the 800 meter run.  Also running this year is Guam Olympian Derek Mandell, who won the Guam Ko’ko’ Road Race Half Marathon in 2009 and also competed in the 800 meter event in London this summer.

[Pictured left to right: Jeneva Bosko, Miss World Guam, Nathan Denight, Deputy General Manager, Guam Visitors Bureau, Marie Calvo-Monge, Assistant General Manager/Executive Producer, KUAM, Senator Tina Muna Barnes, Legislative Secretary/Majority Whip, Chair, Committee on Municipal Affairs, Tourism, Housing and Recreation, Cheryl Calaustro, Wildlife Biologist, Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources, Department of Agriculture,‘Che’lu’, Guam Ko’Ko’ Road Race Mascot, Quentin Koch, Director of Sales Micronesia, United Airlines, Danielle Schnabel, Marketing Coordinator, Gatorade, Joann Camacho, General Manager, Guam Visitors Bureau, Ben Ferguson, Executive Director, Pacific Islands Club, Derek Mandell, 2012 Guam Olympian and 2009 Guam Ko’Ko’ Road Race Winner, and Sarah Filush, Miss Earth Guam.]

Top finishers in both events will win up to $5,000 in total prize money.  The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place male and female overall finishers in the Half Marathon event will be awarded $1,000, $500, and $250 respectively.  The 1st place team overall in the Ekiden Relay event will be awarded $1,000.  In 2011, more than 1,600 total runners participated in the Guam Ko’ko’ Road Race, over 600 of whom were from Japan.  Race registration projections estimate a record number of runners will compete in the 2012 event.

“We look forward to welcoming runners from across the globe to this exciting event,” said GVB Deputy General Manager Nathan Denight.  “The annual Guam Ko’ko’ Road Race provides opportunities for the local community and visitors alike to enjoy Guam’s beauty as a top cultural and resort destination.”

This year marks the seventh anniversary of the race, which is a half marathon solo and ekiden relay (4‐person team) road race.  The race starts and ends at Governor Joseph Flores Memorial (Ypao Beach) Park.  The race course showcases the villages of Tumon, Tamuning, Asan, and the capital city of Hagåtña.  Additionally, there will be cheering groups along the race course from the community, as well as cultural entertainers.  The International Association of Athletics Federation certified the race course as officially 13.1 miles long.  Touted as one of Guam’s signature sports tourism events, the Guam Ko’ko’ Road Race attracts visitors to Guam as well as benefits Guam’s indigenous Guam Rail, also known as the ko’ko’ bird.

Efforts in conjunction with the Department of Agriculture, Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources raise awareness for the plight of the flightless bird and help preserve this endangered species.  ’Che’lu’ is the official mascot for the Guam Rail and interacts with the community of Guam and visitors, endearing them to Guam’s territorial bird.  ‘Che’lu’ and a live ko’ko’ bird made special guest appearances at today’s press conference, educating and entertaining the attendees.

Online registration is open through the October 10 closing deadline at http://www.guamkokoroadrace.com/.  The registration fee for teams that participate in the school division for the Ekiden Relay has been set at just $40, or $10 per runner, to encourage as many students as possible to participate.

Supporting sponsors include Docomo Pacific, Japan Guam Travel Association, Pacific Daily News, Cycles Plus, Guam Department of Public Works, Guam Fire Department, Guam Police Department – Highway Patrol Division, Hertz Rent-A-Car, Hornet Sports, Market Wholesale Distributors Inc., Mayor’s Council of Guam, Paradise Fitness Center, Pay-Less Supermarkets, Triple J Five Star Wholesale Foods, Guam Department of Agriculture – Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources.