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05 November 2020, 11am

After mass cancellations Ekiden events are first to start up again

Japanese races start to edge back towards normality

by Brett Larner

While distance running in Europe struggles through a second lockdown (but with elite sport continuing) Japanese races had already, with a few exceptions, been cleared from the winter season right through to April.

However, the popular Ekiden university and corporate team relay events, reaching a climax in the National Championships on New Year’s day, have marked out a path back towards greater normality.

Regional qualifying for the 1 January New Year Ekiden corporate men’s national championships got started on the 3 November holiday with the Kyushu Corporate Men’s Ekiden in Kitakyushu and the East Japan Corporate Men’s Ekiden in Kumagaya. Starting from last year Kyushu had already switched to a loop course and, as a measure against the coronavirus crisis, East Japan was also held on a loop course in a park instead of its usual road course.

Regional qualifying for the New Year Ekiden continues on 15 November in the Chubu, Kansai, Chugoku and Hokuriku regions.

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Cover: Runners in the Moscow Half Marathon held on 2 August. Over 9500 runners finished along with nearly 2500 others in the supporting 5km event. Winners were Rinas Akhmadeev (1:04:24) and Elena Korobkina (1:10:29). Korobkina went on to win the 10km event held in association with the Absolute Moscow Marathon on 20 September in a time of 31:49. Around 9500 finished the Marathon along with another 12,000 in the 10km.

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