With virtual running becoming the norm around the world – at least for the foreseeable future – it's no surprise that one of the biggest race formats in Japan, the Ekiden, has appeared in a COVID-safe format.
The ASICS World Ekiden is a virtual event with a difference, a relay race where teams tackle a total distance of 42.2km split into six legs.
Comprised of up to six people anywhere in the world, each Ekiden team will pass a virtual ‘Tasuki’ – the narrow band of fabric used in traditional Japanese Ekiden races like a relay baton – to the next runner as the challenge is completed.
The full marathon distance will be broken down into three legs of 5km, two of 10km and one of a 7.2km, with the teams of up to six deciding who takes on the individual sections.
The ASICS World Ekiden 2020 will use a new race platform combining both Race Roster and the ASICS Runkeeper app. Teams will be able to track their progress in real-time on their Apple Watch, Garmin or Fitbit device, view rankings on live online leaderboards, and access customised in-race audio.
As well as being a free event to sign up to, ASICS is offering a variety of products and services in the run-up to race day, including training, coaching and expert tips.
The event is developed off the back of research by ASICS that found 46% of Brits who exercise regularly are finding it difficult to stay motivated as they don’t have a goal to work towards at the moment. Three in four (77%) team sport players in the UK say sport or exercise is more enjoyable when played with friends and teammates, and two thirds (64%) admit to missing the chance to compete with others.
Yasuhito Hirota, President & Chief Operating Officer, ASICS, said: “It may be inspired by one of Japan’s most famous race formats, but the ASICS World Ekiden 2020 really is an event like no other. We know people are missing the motivation and connection they get from team sport, so we are really excited to bring people together from all over the world to train and compete together in pursuit of a shared goal. In the true spirit of the Ekiden, anybody can take part and nobody will be running alone.”
Teams must complete their relay race between 11th and 22nd November 2020. To sign up for free from 1 October 2020 use Runkeeper or the ASICS hub.
Runners can also find expert advice, training plans and the latest news and information about the ASICS World Ekiden 2020 by following #ASICSWorldEkiden.