United Airlines Guam Marathon congratulates finishers of virtual event

David, Myles, and Rhea Macaluso have made UGM a family tradition. The family has participated together since 2017.
David, Myles, and Rhea Macaluso have made UGM a family tradition. The family has participated together since 2017.

United Airlines Guam Marathon congratulates finishers of virtual event

by Guam Sports Events
Guam Sports Events

(Sept. 25, 2020 – Guam) -- Guam Sports Events, Inc. (GSE) congratulates the finishers of the eighth annual United Airlines Guam Marathon event, rebranded in 2020 as #UGM2020 Goes Virtual. The response to the event was a resounding success, which helped Guam and international participants to maintain their focus on their training programs and staying healthy despite the current pandemic.

For the past two weeks, runners across the world took part in the first #UGM2020 Goes virtual event. Originally scheduled for April, UGM took on a different look this year in comparison to the thousands of runners, supporters, and volunteers usually seen throughout Guam’s scenic views and at the finish line at the Gov. Joseph Flores Memorial Park (Ypao Beach) in Tumon Bay. This year, participants ran their races in their home cities, neighborhood parks, and on treadmills to complete their races -- 5K, 10K, half marathon, or full marathon -- from Sept. 5 through Sept. 20.

A total of 2,715 participants from Guam, the U.S., and 15 countries were registered for the virtual event. UGM welcomed 274 of those registrants after the virtual event was announced. Those who registered before the original 2020 deadline were automatically deferred to the virtual event and the 2021 event.

UGM applauds the 1,337 participants who completed their races and submitted their results* for the event:

Results Received by Country

  • 601 from Guam
  • 403 from Japan
  • 244 from Korea
  • 89 from other countries (Philippines, Hong Kong, Saipan, Thailand, Dubai, United States, Palau, Germany, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, and Taiwan)

Results by Distance**

  • 156 - Marathon
  • 305 - Half Marathon
  • 287 - 10k
  • 345 - 5k

“Early on, we became hopeful when our UGM community of runners and supporters around the world wanted to connect to the race and continue their annual UGM tradition even during this challenging time. As a runner, I understand the amount of time spent strategizing and planning for your race. This was our chance to give our participants an outlet for positivity and to acknowledge their hard work and commitment,” said UGM Race Director Ben Ferguson. “I’d like to congratulate all our participants for pushing through the challenges they may have encountered both on and off the pavement. We are so proud to be a part of this community.”

While participants didn’t officially run together or end with the traditional Tumon Bay Dip, the spirit of community and the accomplishment of completing the race remained the same.

Race officials reached out to participants and asked them to share their photos and stories from their first #UGM2020 virtual experience.


Urban Fitness Owner James Sardea completed his half marathon distance by running the UGM half marathon racecourse on Sunday, Sept. 20.

“On the last day to complete the race, I gave it my all without much training. I’m happy with my results and can’t wait to race again,” shared Sardea. “Thank you UGM for continuing the run during the current situation and for getting participants out to run for good health. Until the next race, keep on running Guam.”

James Sardea runs his half marathon race on Sept. 20 and follows the event racecourse map, which begins in Tumon Bay and is an out-and-back course through Tamuning and Guam’s capital city of Hagåtña.


Billy Navarrete ran his half marathon race along the UGM race route on April 5, the original run date. He did not hit his target time, and he ran his race again in September. With schedule challenges and an off-course training regimen, Navarrete said that preparing for and running in the event served as a great stress reliever for him.

“As a competitor for multiple disciplines, I needed an outlet in order to keep my sanity during this pandemic. All the weekend 5Ks and OCR events I planned to partake in for 2020 were canceled due to COVID, which I am also humbly grateful for because health and safety is a priority,” Navarrete said.

Billy Navarrete completed his second half marathon race on September 20, 2020. Navarrete ran his first half marathon in April and ran again in September to improve his time.

“It was very significant to participate in the UGM Virtual Half Marathon this year, because I love committing to goals that I set for myself, even with the current limitations. Although I was not able to beat my goal of sub-1:45, I still had a blast and wouldn’t mind doing another virtual UGM race if things do not go back to normal. I already look forward to UGM 2021 and would like to give a great big shout out to those who have been working diligently to make this beautiful annual event a possiBILLYty! Congratulations to all the runners who ran this year! Stay healthy, active, and safe everyone!” Navarrete added.


Rhea Macaluso, an avid runner and a long-time participant of the event continued her tradition of running the UGM race with her family on Sunday, Sept 20 by completing a 10k.

Macaluso shared, “I originally signed up to run a full marathon, but with this lockdown, I couldn’t run as much as I wanted to so I settled with the half marathon. I’m happy though, because I had the best support crew and cheerleaders, my husband David and son Myles. This is not the ideal UGM race we are all used to, but with the pandemic going on, let’s just be glad that we can still do what we love to do. To all the UGM finishers, good job and see you all next year!”

This is Rhea Macaluso’s eighth time completing the event, which she first ran in 2014 and has placed as a top finisher even when UGM was known as the Guam International Marathon. In 2019, Macaluso showed Guam’s talent by taking first place in the 10K race.


Kyle Palomo completed his third UGM 10K alongside his family members, his mom Laurie Palomo, and his girlfriend Cabrini Cruz.

Palomo said, “It was very special to run this event with my family, because even if it was a virtual race, I was able to finish it with people that I love.”

Kyle Palomo, center, completes his third UGM 10K on Sept. 20 with girlfriend Cabrini Cruz, left, and mom Laurie Palomo, who are also UGM 10k finishers.

The Palomo family began their race at 5:00 a.m. on Sept. 20 and saw other runners completing their UGM races.

“It was nice to see others out exercising,” Palomo added. “A couple of my family members were also completing their UGM races on their own. We were able to connect before and after the run by sharing our post-run photos in our family group chat.”

Palomo said that despite the virtual experience, he still felt a sense of community. Runners posted many photos and videos online to share their experiences.

Palomo stated, “This is my third UGM 10k, and I am proud to be part of this community of runners. My family and I are already training for the 2021 event!”


Ann Haun is a United employee by day and a motivational coach to her running team by night. Han started a running group in July to encourage her co-workers to join her in a 100-mile challenge, which originally gathered 33 co-workers. In August, the group grew to 42 with a new goal of taking 10,000 steps a day. Eleven of them decided to register for UGM together to run 5k and 10k races.

“With the situation we are currently in on the island, my goal was to try and get everyone together as co-workers and friends to have fun,” Haun said. “During the month of July is when everyone got excited and signed up to join the #UGM2020 Goes Virtual event.”

United, the title sponsor of the UGM event, traditionally manages the JFK Hill water station. This year, United employees who usually work at the event were able to run in the event. The United co-workers posted a video created by Vangie Arizala that can be found on UGM’s social pages.

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