Mizuno Ekiden 2017 – 21.1km Relay Race

Watch our video: Mizuno Ekiden 2017 – Race Footage

Race Recap

Last Saturday, Yip and I were at the Mizuno Ekiden 2017, where we took part in the 21.1km relay race with two other friends, Michael and Alvin, in a team of 4. Cloudy skies and showers forecasted in the evening were not a good sign. The race was set to start at around 4:30 pm and thankfully, the weather seemed pretty favourable when we got to the venue.

Initially, it was just like any other race to me, but then I got to learn that the term “Ekiden (駅伝)” originated from the Japanese and the characters stand for “station” and “transmit” respectively. 

Interesting fact: Ekiden began in Japan as a long-distance road-race relay to commemorate the movement of the old Japanese capital of Kyoto to Tokyo. The race is considered to demonstrate many aspects of the Japanese culture and spirit of perseverance, resilience, and teamwork – values that all athletes from team sports would resonate with.

Significance of the Tasuki

One special thing about the race was that runners were required to wear a tasuki, which is the sash that each runner hands off to the next member in their team in the transition zone. The tasuki is worn over either shoulder and under the opposite arm and it is symbolic of the nature of the ekiden – sharing the sweat of every team member, which represents communal effort in support of a larger goal. Well, as the last runner in my team, I essentially carried the accumulated sweat of all my team members – a heavy responsibility indeed.

GoPro head-mount footage

Apart from just completing the race, Yip and I (1st and 4th runner respectively) decided to mount our GoPro Hero 5 Black on our heads using a head-mount to capture some footage of our run. Aside from the occasional stares we got from passersby, I felt that it was decent in terms of the level of comfort, and not forgetting the special mention by the emcee as Yip crossed into the transition zone (“omg, this is the first time I see someone running with an action camera on his head”) – haha cool beans~

After completing the Ekiden, I realised that I like the feeling of competing with a group identity, knowing that giving anything less than my best would be sacrificing the efforts of every member of my team. Really pushes the most out of me. Til’ next time!

Mizuno Ekiden - Team pic (From left: Bert, Yip, Michael, and Alvin)

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