A Japanese tradition.

A race for togetherness.

The Ekiden is a 100 year old Japanese relay race, the name means “relaying station”. It was created to celebrate the movement of the capital and the race is based on the way messengers moved from the old capital, Kyoto, to the new, Tokyo. The Ekiden is run by multiple runners looking to challenge themselves and share their love of running with a team.

The Ekiden.

The Ekiden is a long-distance relay race. It is a team event where a traditional sash or tasuki is passed from one runner to the next after they complete their leg of the race. The tasuki symbolises the immense effort each team puts in in order to win.


Running in Japan.

Running is an important sport in Japan. There are many Ekiden’s, one of the most popular is the Hakone Ekiden. The Ekiden is all about togetherness, it is a celebration of group harmony and the uplifting power of running. Many people start training in high school, mainly on roads or tracks, and there are some permanent trails up mountains. Ekiden training can be intense with hour long warm ups. The idea is to remain calm throughout, so you can stay focused.

The race.

Each Ekiden can be slightly different. They can be anywhere from 1-3 days long and cover a variety of distances - the Mount Fuji Ekiden is 29 miles while the Grand Kyushu Ekiden is 458 miles. But some race elements remain the same. Each team is made up of experienced runners, and a tasuki is passed from one runner to the next. Teams are usually made up of six people but can be more. The Grand Tour Kyushu Ekiden has 51 runners.

On race day.

Each team gets ready, with every runner doing their own preparations for the start of the race. The runners carry a tasuki ready to pass them on to their teammates. Most races are on roads, but some are cross country and they can sometimes take 3 days to complete.

Run as a team.

Once finishing one leg of the race the runner passes the tasuki to the next person. In the ASICS World Ekiden 2021 our tasuki is virtual, so you can join from wherever you are in the world. Just get yourself into a team and get ready to race.


ASICS World Ekiden.

Our race will take place from the 10 - 22 of November. It is 26.2 miles long, the length of a normal marathon. Six racers will take on one leg, the legs are broken up as - 5k, 5k, 10k, 5k, 10k and 7.2k. This is a virtual relay, and we encourage everyone to participate.


Want to get involved?

Register via the Runkeeper™ app or the event registration page. Once you have your team of six, each runner needs to have downloaded the Runkeeper™ app. You can run with a smaller team, but some runners will have to complete multiple legs of the race. Each runner should log their time on the app from the 10 - 22 of November, passing on the virtual tasuki. The race will be over when all the legs have been completed. Visit our event registration page to sign up now.