Mazda Ekiden

mazda ekidenLooking for some motivation to get back in shape after the holidays?

Why not get some friends together and cross your fingers for a spot in March’s mega-popular Mazda Ekiden road relay?

Every year at the beginning of March, 160 six person teams who have got through the rather elaborate entry process run a 15.9km road relay (ekiden) around the Mazda plant in Fuchu.

The longest of the 6 legs is 4.8km and the others are between 1.4km and 3.4km, so it’s a great event for those who are want a goal to get them motivated in the cold winter months, but don’t want to commit to a long distance. Competition is pretty sharp at the front, but most teams are doing it for fun.

Entry fees are cheap at only ¥3000 per team, the Mazda Ekiden has always been popular, and with the current “running boom” showing little sign of running out of steam, you can be sure that it will be well over-subscribed.

Entries are only open for a week until 5pm on Monday, January 16 and there will be a lucky draw to find out which teams get in on Monday, January 23. Entry forms can be downloaded here (PDF). You can send your entries by email to mazda-ekiden@mail.mazda.co.jp, but somewhat bizarrely, you are asked to print out the form, fill it in, then scan it and send as an attachment. You can also fax entries to (082)287-5237.

Also, be aware that at least one of your team members must be either of elementary school age, a woman or a man over 45 years old (so much that is wrong with that requirement, but we wont go into that now).

The actual event will be held on Sunday, March 4 but please be aware that, should you enter, a representative from your team is required to attend a pre-race meeting on February 18 or 19 between 10and 11am (the race office choose which). It’s also possible, but not required, to view the course by bus on February 19 11:00-11:45.

Course profile

Leg 1 4.8km Longest leg. Starts flat, but there is a steep climb over the final 500m.
Leg 2 2.1km Starts with a fairly steep up and down over a bridge, then relatively flat until end.
Leg 3 1.4km Shortest leg reserved for elementary school kids, women (!) and over 45s (!!). Totally flat.
Leg 4 3.4km 4 slightly up and down sections.
Leg 5 2.0km Flat for the first 450m, then a long 560m up and down over a bridge.
Leg 6 2.2km Flat and fast anchor leg.

More details (in Japanese) here.

Paul Walsh

Paul arrived in Hiroshima "for a few months" back in 1996. He is the co-founder of GetHiroshima.com and loves running in the mountains.

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