KONQER Saipan: King of the Hill, the first full scale obstacle course challenge to be held in the CNMI, lived up to its name on Saturday—with a little help from Mother Nature herself.
Event participants found themselves attempting to “conquer”not only the man-made obstacles butadditional challenges brought forth by constant rainfall and inclement weather conditions.
A tropical disturbance passing through the Marianas, due to the presence of Tropical Storm Talim, caused the KONQER obstacle course to be exceptionally wet and muddy throughout the entire day.
And where there is exceptional wetness and muddiness there is excessive slipperiness and loss of traction.
This factor made each of the obstacles far moredifficult for most of the 497 confirmed registrants that took on the course.
In fact, the later in succession a competitor was,the harder the course became because those preceding them would leave each obstacle progressively more muddy and slippery.
This involuntary yet fitting catalyst to the KONQER challenge ultimately served as a great neutralizer of sorts for the overall experience.
Although the most well conditioned athletes had an obvious advantage on paper, even they found themselves blundering and struggling as much as the weekend warrior typesduring certain obstacles.
“The Ramp Jump”—a halfpipe-like obstacle serving as KONQER’S equivalent to “The Warped Wall” made popular by Ninja Warrior—was particularly punishing for most contestants.
“Hanzo’s Challenge”—an upper body strength-intensive V-like monkey bar climb—and “The Monster”—a stair-like contraption that converts into a rope assisted wall descent—also offered a steeper difficulty.
Fortunately, alternative approaches and team-assisted solutions were permitted for each of the obstacles.
Those who were unable to traverse the upper body strength dependent challenges normally,did so through the aid of teammates lifting and supporting their feet or by climbing and walking atop the provided handle bars. It was an intriguing sight to say the least.
While the individual contestants competing in KONQER’s most difficult challenge, the Enduro, were not afforded some of the handicaps of Team competitors, the vast majority saw things through to the end regardless.
Prior to tackling the obstacles at the peak of the challenge site hill, participants also needed to brave the currents of the water channel which were made significantly rougher by the tropical disturbance.
At the conclusion of King of the Hill, the family of the late Gov. Eloy S. Inos whom the Peace Park was named after, was given a placard honoring Inos as the “honorary 499th contestant” of KONQER Saipan.
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Marianas Visitors Authority’s Chris Concepcion received the “honorary 498th contestant”acknowledgement on behalf of MVA for their instrumental role in making KONQER Saipan possible.
For the Enduro race results, visiting competitor Tim Patrick took 1st Place with a finishing time 37:08.
Patrick’s friend and co-competitor Justin Park finished with a time of 38:36 for 2nd Place, while Joel Phair finished 3rd Place with his time of 38:53.
The team of Marianas Outrigger Club topped the Business League times with a 1st Place finishing time of 50:10.
Coming in at 2nd Place was Team Gold’s Gym with 1:01:22.
Team Tao Tao Bud 670 took 3rd Place with 1:02:56.
As of press time, KONQER representatives confirmed the full official results for King of the Hill—including remainingBusiness Team and Obstacle Sprints times—are incomplete. The remaining results shall be available later in the week.