Both pro and amateur athletes from around the globe joined the 2013 Saipan Sportsfest which encompasses two major triathlons. The 12th XTERRA Saipan Championships attracts world renowned off road multi sport triathletes to our little island in the middle of nowhere. This year, the XTERRA calendar of races worked well to combine three races back-to-back. Many of the pros arrived early last week from XTERRA Philippines in Cebu. Then, it was off to Saipan for our XTERRA Championships here and next weekend is the XTERRA Guam. Sports tourism is definitely a niche market in the CNMI and big sporting events not only draw international participants, it allows us to market the islands by positive word-of-mouth advertising. With the lack of funding from our Visitor's Authority, we really need to not only showcase our destination but to ensure that each visitor's experience is beyond memorable.
In the photo above, the local athletes mixed with the off island visitors for one of the thrice weekly tank swims on a bright sunny day.
Like many years past, we've hosted professional XTERRA triathletes in our home during their stay on Saipan. We welcome our guests warmly so that they can experience a more "local" way of life and we benefit from making new friends from around the world. This year, Dan Hugo and Brad Weiss from South Africa are staying with us and it's been very nice to meet them. With more time now, I'm able to cook good meals and entertain them more than I have in the past. Early last week, we invited our long time friend, Renata Bucher from Switzerland and her Aussie friend, Peri, for a dinner and game night at our home.
Many of the pros assisted with photo ops with the major sponsors. Last week, we all visited DFS.
From left to right, Peri Gray (Australia), Jacqui Slack (UK) and Renata Bucher (Switzerland). Thank you, ladies, for choosing to race in Saipan!