By Nate San Nicolas

First, second, and third place finishers (Derek Mandell, Christopher Magtoto, and John Aquino) run together at the start of the race. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

First, second, and third place finishers (Derek Mandell, Christopher Magtoto, and John Aquino) run together at the start of the race. (photo by Errol Alegre, Jr.)

It was an early Saturday morning as an energetic crowd of 1800 runners came together to liven up Hagatna to get their fitness on and support a great cause at the same time.

In the 7th Annual Ifit 5k Run, the Bank of Guam organized a fantastic race that featured a $500 cash prize to the top finishers of the male and female divisions to stir up some competition, along with an attractive grand prize raffle for two roundtrip tickets to the US. And to sweeten the deal, 100 percent of the proceeds earned go to support the Guam Cancer Care foundation.

“One hundred percent of the proceeds will stay on Guam and go to the Guam Cancer Care foundation, and then 95% of the money goes directly to Guam cancer patients for direct support service, making a big difference because we help a lot of people with just this one event,” said Executive Director of Guam Cancer Care Terry Cuabo. “And we believe physical activity is one of the many keys to avoiding cancer, so coming out and joining in 5K’s like this really helps show the support on the fight against cancer.”

First place male finisher: Derek Mandell

First place male finisher: Derek Mandell

Guam Olympian Derek Mandell smoked the flat race course, clocking in just seconds before second place finisher, Christopher Magtoto, giving him a nice cash prize of $500 as well. Although Mandell has been training hard for the upcoming Guam Marathon, he crossed the finish line at a time of 15 minutes 34vseconds.

“A 5K is a lot faster than a marathon race, but I’ve been training on weekends running 5K races as some sort of speed work to help my legs kick faster, and it’s just the little steps that help me move to my bigger goal, the marathon,” commented Mandell. “And just running with Chris (Magtoto) on the weekends at these 5K’s has really helped me get back in to that competitive mood for the big race.”

Derek Mandell

Derek Mandell

Kristina Ingvarsson

Emily Cook

Female Division
Coming first in the female category and taking home the other cash prize of $500 was another runner getting ready to take on the intimidating Guam Marathon, Emily Cook. After running a 21-miler last weekend, she felt nerves about today’s race but was relieved and felt recovered after trekking through the finish line at an unofficial time of 19 minutes 9 seconds. And celebrating her win, she helped herself to some complimentary snacks in the end.

“I’m training for the marathon, so I just wanted to come out and run a good pace for the 5K, and my pace was actually faster than expected. I also came in second last year, so I was thinking to myself this morning how nice it would be to get first place this year,” said Ingvarsson with a smile.

First place female finisher: Emily Cook

First place female finisher: Kristina Ingvarsson

But what’s inspirational about Cook is her personal experience that kept pushing her throughout the race.

“I like how this is sponsored by Guam Cancer Care, my mother-in-law had cancer at the beginning of last fall, but now she’s doing well,” Cook expressed.

With a big crowd and a great cause, Bank of Guam’s 7th Annual Ifit 5k Run/Walk was an outstanding success, and you can expect many more years to follow.

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