Oh Ekiden Day. For those of you who are wondering what Ekiden means, let me help you out. According to the most trusted source on the internet, Wikipedia, Ekiden refers to a long distance relay race. To be honest, I definitely underestimated the hugeness of Ekiden in Japan. I’ve heard the term used in conversation, but it really is a great team-school sport. The students train together for countless hours all year long hoping to bring pride to their school.
Some of the Students
On Friday (my last day at JHS for 2010!), I trained with the girls Ekiden team after school. It was quite a fun way to spend my Friday evening, believe it or not. Something interesting I learned. Students love English outside of the classroom. It’s like, once we are out of school, talking English with Amanda is like the coolest thing ever. I must say, I gained a lot of respect for those students. The coolest part of the practice was the "sumo-ing" activity at the end. You get a partner and you stand side-by-side and try to push each other across the line. Pretty simple, but surprisingly a really good workout.
The Ekiden format is pretty simple. 5 people run a total of 8.7km. I got the honor of starting the race (so the first leg, 2km) for our team. I ran with 4 other women, 2 of which were teachers, and the other two I met the day of the race. The race was over quite quick and I’m so thankful the weather was nice (blue skies and about 45 degrees, little breeze but oh well).
The Finish Line
The Ekiden Team
And of course, a relay race wouldn't be complete without a 2 hour "all you can eat and drink" lunch afterwards. At 7:50am, I didn't realize what I was agreeing to, but I found out a little while later that I agreed to lunch. It was pretty cool, although I only knew 2 people (JHS principals).
Well, there you have it. My first Ekiden.