The inaugural Mizuno Ekiden Race wrapped up with a flurry of exciting activities which saw about 3,000 people gathered at The Meadow, Gardens by the Bay on Saturday, 18 July 2015. As some 2,500 participants got ready in their teams of four for the first flag off at 7:00 a.m., they were greeted with more than the typical race hype. Energy pulsed in the air as taiko drummers, lined up along the start pen, pounded the brightly coloured traditional Japanese instruments to flag off the runners in style and grandeur.
With today’s event kickstarting the beginning of something new for the running scene in Singapore, we are pleased with the commitment shown by the participants from all the categories.
To take part in a race consisting of four members shows not only dedication, but also the camaraderie required to run a good Ekiden race, which comprises three main aspects; teamwork, performance and perseverance.
—Mr Kiyoshi Tatani, President of Mizuno Singapore
Coursing along the picturesque route of the Gardens by the Bay and The Meadow, everyone was in high spirits as they took off for the first ever full-fledged Ekiden Race held in Singapore. Full Marathon (Open) and Half Marathon (Corporate or School) categories were in full swing. With not a cloud in sight and the sun beating down on them, several teams pressed on to the finish line vying for the top spot.
Clinching the Open Category top spot with a combined time of 2:36:39 is a team of Gurkhas, regulars in the Singapore marathon scene. They had sent in two competing teams for the event, with their compatriots coming in a close third at 2:38:38.
We knew we were going to win because we have been winning regularly in other running events in Singapore. We train twice a day every day, in the mornings and evenings, clocking in distances between 10 km – 15 km each session, so we are very happy with the results!
—21-year old Hum Bahadurgurung, team leader of Open Category winning team
In the Corporate Category, representatives from the Singapore Prison Service claimed the first place with a timing of 1:29:10. Students from ACS Independent and the Singapore Institute of Management clinched the top spots in the School Categories.
Post-race, there were fun and thrills galore in a Japanese-themed Matsuri Race Village, keeping participants, friends, families, supporters and the public entertained throughout the day. Many tried their hand at Kendama, a traditional Japanese toy consisting of a ken (stick) and tama (ball) connected by a string. The ken has three cups and a spike that fits into the hole in the ball. With some deft skills and quick training, the participants were soon learning to catch the ball in the cups and on the spike.
Other carnival favourites included Shateki, where players used toy guns to knock over prizes set up on shelves or a rotating stand. Gleeful squeals and roars of laughter streamed from the Sumo Wrestling Ring, where kids and adults donned puffy combat sumo suits and tried to knock one another out of the area.
An array of Japanese-centric food and beverage partners were serving up ramen, sushi, delectable desserts and beer, just to name a few of the sumptuous goodies in the Matsuri Race Village.
The highlight of the Matsuri Race Village had to be the Cosplay Showcase, complete with a meet-and-greet session with renowned cosplayers in Singapore. Flaunting their looks on a full catwalk, these cosplayers also shared several interesting tips on how to curate your next winning costume.
It was a unique and thoroughly enjoyable day for me!
Having been to a few races before, this race village was certainly a refreshing change. It felt like I was momentarily transported to a carnival in Japan and it was really interesting to see some of the games they had, not to mention the excellent food and beverage offerings that are available to us as well.
—Debbie Peck, enthused participant
Were you part of Singapore’s very first Mizuno Ekiden Race? Share your experiences with us, we’d love to hear them!