The Fourteenth Minamiuonuma City Ekiden was held on Sunday, October 28. There were 872 participants from 109 teams for 8 legs, and all the teams completed under such beautiful weather though it was predicted rainy by the weather forecast as always. I’d like to share the story about the Japanese original sport, Ekiden.
First of all, Ekiden is a road relay founded in Japan in 1917. The athletes have to carry the cloth band called tasuki of some two inches in width and six feet in length hanging from either shoulder through the entire leg. It is getting more popular because we can obtain a special sense of achievement with team mates, compared to the normal individual running race. One of the most famous ones, Hakone Ekiden with some 210km of 10 legs is known to us after it was entirely broadcasted on TV at the beginning of new year.
Secondly, the First Minamiuonuma City Ekiden was held commemorating the merger between the three towns in 2005 (Muikamachi, Shiozawa and Yamato). Therefore, the course is from old Shiozawa to old Yamato through old Muikamachi with 32.5 kilometers of eight legs. There are many kinds of teams which consists of, for example schools, communities, companies and so on. And so many citizens are cheering for the runners along the course. One of the entertainments is, of course, the party after the performance.
Recently, the number of foreign runners is also increasing. One of the teams is from the prestige school, International University of Japan which has been taking part since the first race. Thanks to them, it can be called International Ekiden.
I hope they will bring this Japanese original sport to their home with them after they graduate.