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Ekiden is a long distance team relay race. Run in stages, commonly over a multi-terrain course. Each stage must be completed, or the team is disqualified.
The lengths of ekiden events can vary greatly, as can the number of runners in a team.

The popularity of Ekiden in Japan is unsurpassed in any other country. However its popularity is now spreading around the world with races held in many countries, including the United Kingdom.

Although there are mixed gender open Ekiden events, Ekiden is normally restricted by gender and categorised by age. Often with a minimum age of 16 years on the day of the race.

Because Ekiden has differing length stages, various specialist distance runners can be accommodated within a team.

Peculiar to Ekiden is that the individual stages can be of differing lengths. A typical adult male Ekiden, of 42.2k could be run by teams of six, with stage distances of: 1st- 7.2k; 2nd- 5k; 3rd- 10k; 4th- 5k; 5th- 10k; 6th- 5k. The annual Japanese Collegiate Hakone Ekiden is a 2 day event, with teams of 10 male athletes, run over a total of 219 kilometres. Another feature of Ekiden is that stage runners hand over a sash to the next runner, rather than the batten of the relay.

Closely Related Activities
Relay race (track running) 41, Cross Country Running 26.

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