Guam Ko’ko’ Events Draw International Attention

Guam Kids Run
Racers from the Ko'ko' Kids Fun Run 10-12 year old division take off at Ypao Beach on Saturday, April 13. – image courtesy of GVB
Written by Linda Hohnholz

Over 1,000 participated in the Ko’ko’ Kids Fun Run and Ko’ko’ Road Race to bring awareness to the plight of Guam’s territorial bird.

Over a thousand local and international runners took part in the annual Guam Ko’ko’ Road Race activities hosted by the Guam Visitors Bureau (GVB) this past weekend, April 13 & 14, 2024, at the Gov. Joseph Flores Memorial Beach Park (Ypao Beach). With the assistance and expertise of the Guam Running Club, GVB hosted a variety of events and activities for families to enjoy, which included a Kids Fun Run, 10 Kilometer Run and Half Marathon event.

Jeffrey Campbell took top honors in the Half Marathon event with a blazing time of 1 hour 15 minutes and 40 seconds. Sachi Uozumi from Japan claimed the top female Half Marathon award finishing with a time of 1:33:07. Jisub Kim from South Korea finished with a time of 34:17 and local talent Keira Paz finished at 43:10, taking the top spots in the 10K event.

In addition to the slew of Ko’ko’ events held in previous years, the “Ko’ko’ and Chill” after party was included this year to promote a true local community experience where residents and visitors can gather to enjoy a day at the beach.  

“The Ko’ko Weekend is held in honor of Guam’s territorial bird, whose preservation and growth are extremely important and in need of our attention. It not only brings awareness of the ko’ko’, but also showcases our talented local athletes and our beautiful island,” said GVB President and CEO Carl T.C. Gutierrez.

The Guam Ko’ko’ Road Race began in 2006, attracting local and international runners with the focus on raising awareness of the island’s dwindling territorial bird, the ko’ko’. After a 2-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event had finally made its way back last year 2023. 

“Our local community of runners have been asking for this event to return. They want to engage with our visitors and compete against an international field of competitors,” explained Gerry Perez, GVB Vice President.

Runners from 19 different countries joined local racers in the Ko’ko’ Weekend activities, including several high-profile social media influencers and key opinion leaders (KOL) with vast social media followings hailing from Guam’s top visitor source markets i.e. Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and the Philippines. 

From South Korea, actor and hip-hop artist Sean, running trainer and influencer Run So Young, and running evangelist and marathoner An Jung Eun participated in the Ko’ko’ Road Race. Participating in the Ko’ko’ Kids Fun Run were two special kids from Korea who visited with their families:  Yekong and Kwon Yul, who have a combined following of 2.5 million followers. Also visiting from South Korea were popular content creators Na Yeon, Yellmee, Hyeoni, Sohee, Yoon the Road, Anya, Peppermint, Eenomsiki, and Yeni.  

From Taiwan, Guam welcomed actor Muji, variety show host Ava, and influencer Yiyi, who combined have a reach of 1.5 million followers.  

From the Philippines, fitness enthusiast and Mr. World Philippines 2022 Kirk Bondad and Mr. Philippines 2024 Brandon Espiritu, who is a Guam native, came to Guam to participate in the Ko’ko’ events.  

From Japan, running advisor and influencer Misato, popular TV star Yuta Watanabe, and winner of the 2019 and 2021 Japan Summer Style Awards as the Beauty Fitness Model Sachi Uozumi all participated in the Races with Ms. Uozumi finishing as the overall top female in the Ko’ko’ half marathon with a time of 1 hour and 33 minutes and 7 seconds.

Joining Uozumi are the following top finishers:

Half Marathon Top Males

1.      Jeffrey Campbell, Canada

2.     Derek Mandell, Guam

3.     David Perry, Guam

Half Marathon Top Females

1.      Sachi Uozumi, Japan

2.     Virginie Ternisien, Guam

3.     Hana Lee, Guam

10K Top Males

1.      Jisub Kim, South Korea

2.     Ryan Matienzo, Guam

3.     Rynier Di Ramos, Guam

10K Top Females

1.      Keira Paz, Guam

2.     Yumika Sugahara, Guam

3.     Hye Lim Park, South Korea

Kids Fun Run Top 10-12 Year Old Males

1.      Sage Cruz, Guam

2.     JP Killoran, US

3.     Coa Evaristo, Guam

Kids Fun Run Top 10-12 Year Old Females

1.      Lucy Bird, Guam

2.     Maggie Lippert, Guam

3.     Katie Adzhigirey, US

Kids Fun Run Top 7-9 Year Old Males

1.      Gavin Egbert, Guam

2.     Princeton Adzhigirey, US

3.     Ezekiah Muna, Guam

Kids Fun Run Top 7-9 Year Old Females

1.      Vivianne Green, US

2.     Joy Belyshev, Guam

3.     Rizzahlyn Muna, Guam

Kids Fun Run Top 4-6 Year Old Males

1.      Kei Sudo, Japan

2.     Spencer Egbert, Guam

3.     Tyler Onedera, Guam

Kids Fun Run Top 4-6 Year Old Females

1.      Selah Adzhigirey, US

2.     Sana Ito, Japan

3.     Risa Anas, Japan

A full list of all division winners is available at:  

Ko’ko’ Road Race 10K and Half Marathon 

Ko’ko’ Kids Fun Run

GVB is proud to announce that the dates for the next three Ko’ko’ Weekends will be as follows:

April 12 & 13, 2025                 

April 11 & 12, 2026                  

April 10 & 11, 2027


About the author

Linda Hohnholz

Editor in chief for eTurboNews based in the eTN HQ.

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