World Para Athletics partner ASICS announced on Thursday (1 October) the inaugural ASICS World Ekiden 2020: the ultimate team challenge that will see teams of up to six people from all over the world come together to complete a combined marathon.
Inspired by a century of Japanese running culture, the race will be split into six legs of varying distances, making it perfect for runners of all abilities and experience.
The ASICS World Ekiden 2020 will also combine the best of real-world and virtual racing thanks to a new race platform using capabilities of both Race RosterTM and Runkeeper apps. Participants will experience the excitement, connection and motivation of team competition no matter how far apart they are.
Features of the ASICS World Ekiden 2020 includes tracking your team progress in real time on your Apple Watch, Garmin or Fitbit device, ranking yourself on the live online leader board and enjoying a customised in-race audio experience.
To maintain historic traditions, participants will even have to pass their very own digital tasuki – the narrow band of fabric used in traditional Japanese Ekidens – to each other at the end of every leg.
Bringing people together when they're apart
The launch of the ASICS World Ekiden 2020 comes in direct response to the findings of ASICS' ongoing global research into the ever-changing needs of runners and sports fans around the world. The research, which kicked off immediately after the pandemic began, reveals that 69 per cent of active individuals globally miss having a collective goal to work towards at the moment.
Meanwhile, three in four say that exercise is one way they like to meet their goals. Two thirds admit to missing the chance to compete with others.
Through the ASICS World Ekiden 2020, ASICS therefore aims to help people renew their connections with each other, enjoy the mental and physical benefits of team competition and re-energize their collective love of sport and exercise with a shared goal.
"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," said Yasuhito Hirota, President & COO, ASICS. "In the true spirit of the Ekiden, anybody can take part, and nobody will be running alone."
Anyone can Ekiden - so the ASICS World Ekiden 2020 is open to all, with distances that attract all levels of runner.
To take part, simply sign up for free starting 1 October using the Runkeeper app or the ASICS hub www.asics.com/mk/asics-world-ekiden.
Teams must complete their relay race between 11-22 November. For expert advice, training plans and the latest news and information about the ASICS World Ekiden 2020, follow #ASICSWorldEkiden or visiting www.asics.com/mk/asics-world-ekiden.