Ekidens In America: Behind the Michigan Pro Ekiden And Race Innovation


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"The club cross country championships are popular because of the team aspect. I can speak to this because when I owned my running stores (Big River Running Co.) we used to send our team (Big River Racing Team) to Clubs and it was our chance to re-live our high school and college glory days. You put on the spikes. You huddle up as a team before the race. You run the race. It kind of reminded you of the national meet back in the day when you'd go party afterward because it was the end of the season. We'd get together for workouts in the weeks leading up to the race. It was great. I think that the same atmosphere can be achieved in an ekiden. I know it can because I just witnessed it yesterday with that same kind of camaraderie."

Hoka One One Northern Arizona Elite head coach Ben Rosario discusses the Michigan Pro Ekiden that was held at Stony Creek Metro Park in Michigan this week.

For those unfamiliar with the ekiden racing style, it's super popular in Japan where a race consists of a multi-person road relay. In this case, it was six legs. Three men and three women covering the 26.2 mile-marathon distance with 10K, 6.1K and 5K legs.

The NAZ team won in two hours, 10 minutes and 11 seconds. Hansons Brooks Original Distance Project took second in 2:12:08 and Minnesota Distance Elite rounded out the podium in 2:12:51.

In this episode, you'll hear about how the race came together and where the ekiden style of racing could fit into the American distance running scene going forward as well as a little bit about race innovation amid the global pandemic, which has also led to Ben teaming up with a group to host The Marathon Project later this year.

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19 episodes