This is my local version of “See Jane run. . .” since you will probably see more Juans than Janes running. Running seems to be as elementary as reading or riding a bicycle. With that being the case, why don’t more people on Guam run? We have beautiful beach sunsets, running is for the most part free, and running on Guam will give you an opportunity to experience a new look at our beautiful island and people.
If you’re anything like me, you procrastinate and have 101 excuses why you can’t run. Guess what? I have a 102 reasons why you can. Here are my top three:
- Guam has great beaches for running. Our sand is pretty clean and fairly level in most places. Once you’ve had a good run, jump in for a swim to cool off. Fresh air, baby blue skies, turquoise waters — it’s serious therapy!
- No membership, no shoes, no shirt required! Woohoo! How many times do you hear that? Come as you are — shorts, sweats, shoes, or sans. Run with baby strollers or dogs on leashes. Barefoot running is even allowed! I’ve seen a few do the Mangilao Golf Course run barefoot. If you were there, you may have heard me cheering at the final hill, “Go, barefoot dude. You do it!” Soon thereafter others echoed and cheered on Barefoot Man as well.
- Morning running will give you a new look at Guam. Most outsiders complain Guam is too hot. I agree, Guam really is hot. However, if you’d be willing to sacrifice a bit of that beauty sleep and get up at the crack of dawn, you will find as I did that early morning runs are gorgeous. The temps are nice, and once you’re out the door, it really isn’t too bad. Admittedly, I don’t get up for morning runs very often, but I find that if I commit to a group 5K and sign up for one, I’ll go. I’m always glad I did; the raffles and goodies that follow are pretty awesome too.
We have so many running areas. Whether you run on the beach in Tumon, the Asan Beach Park, or if you prefer to run circles around The Paseo Loop, go out and have some fun. My preferred running spot is Tiyan. Granted, it isn’t very pretty or scenic, but I can mark off some great routes and gauge my time and distance. Additionally, I like to vary my routes by doing hills, intervals, sprints, or distance. Tiyan gives me more choices.
With 5Ks dotting the calendar nearly every month, you’ll never be at a loss for some running fun. Many events are annual. One I especially look forward to is the Pacific Islands Club Road Race. Everyone gets a medal and there are lots of giveaways and entertainment. And finally, a spread for the taking once you’re done! (More on that another time.) Most 5K runs are fairly inexpensive, averaging $7. If you stick around and get your t-shirt, water, fruit, and whatever else is given away, your entry fee usually comes back to you. Most often, a group or family of four fetches a discounted rate.
Running on Guam is a unique experience. Being on such a small island, you’re bound to see someone you know, so don’t be surprised if you happen to ‘run into’ (pun intended) one of our local radio personalities, an elected official, or just plain ole me. You’ll also see lots of locals out there, I absolutely love seeing the regulars who give the nod or brief wave. Sometimes you’ll get the islander eyebrow wave, which really makes you feel good. It’s sort of an acknowledgement; a fellow runner is giving you the high five for being out there.
Word of caution: please hydrate, please be medically sound, and don’t overdo it. Please lock your car, don’t leave a bag that looks like a purse or briefcase in plain view — too tempting for someone to break in. I keep a couple of towels in my trunk for those days that the rain just creeps up on me. Tell someone where you’re running, and don’t go alone especially at dark.
Happy Trails! I’m running today, so I can keep up with tomorrow!
Check our Events page for upcoming runs.
Kym Pangelinan has lived on Guam for 27 years, moving to the island with her Chamorro husband shortly after the fish head debacle. She is a happily married mother of three. Knowing what it’s like to be FOB/FOP (fresh off the boat/fresh off the plane), Kym shares her humorous insider quips and tips.