You can for FREE, but first WTF is an Ekiden?

ASICS Australia have announced the very first ASICS world Ekiden 2020. So what is an Ekiden? That’s a good question. An Ekiden is a Japanese long-distance, multi-stage relay race. Started in 1917 to celebrate the the capital moving from Kyoto to Tokyo, Ekidens these days take many forms and have variety of combinations of distances and mix of athletes. The ASICs World Ekiden 2020 is a virtual event, sort of, and you can join for free.

Ekiden Starting Point
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Big Business

But first you have to appreciate how big these things are. Like Godzilla, these things are humongous in Japan. One of the most popular modern Ekidens in Japan is the Hakone Ekiden, which features teams of 10 male students from various Japanese universities of the Tokyo (Kanto) region. This Ekiden runs from central Tokyo along Tokyo Bay, past Yokohama to Hakone and back. Held over two days at the New Year, it covers a staggering 219km. It is a popular spectator sport that draws large crowds (a million or more) along the whole route and receives full network television coverage nationwide over the two days.

“It draws large crowds (a million or more) along the whole route and receives full network television coverage nationwide over the two days.”

This year, teams of up to six people from all over the world come together to complete a combined marathon in the ASICS’ World Ekiden 2020. The race is split into six legs of varying distances, making it doable for runners of all abilities and experience. The ASICS World Ekiden 2020 also combines real-world and virtual running thanks to a new race platform using both Race Roster and ASICS Runkeeper.

Ekiden 2015

ASIC claims that “from tracking their team progress in real time on their Apple Watch, Garmin or Fitbit device to ranking themselves on live online leaderboards and enjoying a customised in-race audio experience, participants will experience the excitement, connection and motivation of team competition no matter how far apart they are.”

Ekiden ASIC

What’s Involved?

The ASICS World Ekiden 2020 is open to all, with distances that attract all levels of runner. To take part, people simply sign up for free, using Runkeeper or the ASICS hub.

Teams must complete their relay race between 11th and 22nd November 2020. Expert advice and training plans are available on Runkeeper and the latest news and information about ASICS World Ekiden 2020 is available via #ASICS WorldEkiden or www.asics.com.

Remember, it’s free.