World Para Athletics partner ASICS announced the inaugural ASICS World Ekiden 2020. In this tournament, 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 virtual relay marathon is split into six legs, including three legs of 5km, two of 10km, and one of a 7.2km. Once all the legs have been completed, the team would have finished a full 42.2km marathon.
The ASICS World Ekiden 2020 will also combine the best of real-world and virtual racing through Race Roster and the ASICS Runkeeper applications. The teams can track progress in real-time on their Apple Watch, Garmin or Fitbit device.
Moreover, players can rank themselves on live online leaderboards and enjoy a customized in-race audio experience. They 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.
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. The research kicked off immediately after the pandemic began. It reveals that 42% of people globally that exercise regularly are finding it difficult to stay motivated as they don’t have a goal to work towards at the moment.
Meanwhile, three in four (75% globally) of team sport players say sport or exercise is more enjoyable when played with friends and teammates. Two-thirds of the same group (67% globally) admit to missing the chance to compete with others. More than half of athletes (50% globally) even claim their mental wellbeing has been negatively impacted by being disconnected from teammates.
Through the ASICS World Ekiden 2020, ASICS aims to help people renew their connections, enjoy the mental, and physical benefits of team competition and re-energies their collective love of sport and exercise with a shared goal.