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GUAM MARATHON HYPE BEGINS

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By Patrick Lujan

PIC Executive Director Ben Ferguson addresses the crowd of media and sponsors during the press conference Wednesday afternoon.  (photo by Jesse Castro)

PIC Executive Director Ben Ferguson addresses the crowd of media and sponsors during the press conference Wednesday afternoon. (photo by Jesse Castro)

The inaugural Guam International Marathon is still two months away but the hype has already begun.

The Pacific Islands Club along with the Guam Visitors Bureau and United Airlines held a press conference Wednesday afternoon to help boost publicity in what is anticipated to be the biggest running event on island.

“We are planning for 2500 runners and in three years, we want to hit 50,000,” PIC General Manger Ken Yanagisawa jokingly said. “Maybe off by one digit (as the audience laughed), 5000.”

Still a very respectable and realistic goal.

PIC Executive Director Ben Ferguson explained the planning behind this huge event set for April 7 that will attract thousands of runners from mostly the Asian market.

The race will start and finish in front of Ypao Beach and will also have half marathon, 10K and 5K runs as well.

Dr. Fred Schumann, Associate Professor, Global Resources Management at the University of Guam, was brought on as the Race Advisor. Schumann, who has represented Guam in numerous long distance events and has done over 40 marathons, shared how huge marathons are in Japan and all over the world.

Dr. Fred Schumann provides the benefits of an international marathon for our community. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Dr. Fred Schumann provides the benefits of an international marathon for our community. (photo by Jesse Castro)

He even presented an Economic Impact Study in which a conservative number of 2000 runners and visitors from Japan could generate an approximate $2.8 million in direct visitor expenditures.

“This type of event really has a major economic impact into the economy,” Schumann said.

But wait – there’s more.

All finishers will receive the usual goody bags and complimentary food and beverages after the race the way PIC is normally accustomed to do, however, this time they will kick it up a notch (or two) with cultural entertainment, live music from Prominence and an appearance from the hugely-popular Japanese group AKB48 – an all-female musical act that has taken that country by storm.

“Every day, without fail, AKB48 is on TV (in Japan),” Schumann added. “They’re very popular.”

The post-race festival will be open to the public to enjoy and it will be open from 6 a.m. to noon.

GVB General Manager Karl Pangelinan comments that though Schumann may have run the distance of the country of Japan, he has hit golf balls probably the same distance. (photo by Jesse Castro)

GVB General Manager Karl Pangelinan comments that though Schumann may have run the distance of the country of Japan, he has hit golf balls probably the same distance. (photo by Jesse Castro)

For co-sponsors GVB and United Airlines, the timing of an April sporting event on Guam makes perfect sense since it is traditional a slow part of the year. GVB General Manager Karl Pangelinan and United Marketing Director Quentin Koch agreed that the timing is perfect in order to sustain the tourism market during April and have a more balanced tourism flow throughout the year.

The final deadline to register for the races is April 3rd. Go to www.guaminternationalmarathon.com to register and learn more about the race.

NOTES: Pangelinan, a well-respected golfer, will be running the 5K. Olympic middle distance runner Derek Mandell is training for his first ever marathon. This will be Koch’s 12th marathon but first on Guam. The grand prize raffle are round trip tickets for two (2) to Manila, Hong Kong, Palau, Cairns or Honolulu.

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