Runners enjoy Japanese culture at Mizuno Ekiden

SINGAPORE - Close to 4,000 runners descended upon The Promontory @ Marina Bay today (Aug 19) as the Mizuno Ekiden kicked off at 4.30pm.

The Ekiden is a relay race, with runners signing up in teams of four to complete either a half marathon (21.1km) or 42.195km-marathon.

The race, in its third edition this year, was accompanied by a Japanese-themed carnival, complete with beats from taiko drums greeting runners near the start point.

Said Mizuno Singapore president Kiyoshi Tatani: " We hope that through this friendly competition, friendships can be deepened and Japanese values such as perseverance, resilience and teamwork can be fostered. We look forward to seeing participants display such values not only at this event but also in their everyday lives."

In the 21.1km corporate category, a team from the Singapore Prison Service, consisting of Cleeve Mu, Ramesh Palaniandy, Yew Meng Tan and Zainul Arrifin came out tops, completing the race in 1hr 24min to walk away with over $2,000 worth of cash and vouchers, and retained their title for the second year running.

"Compared to last year, the competition this year was much tougher and we were not in the top positions in the first half of the race. Thankfully, we managed to close the gap and eventually emerge as this year's champions and defend our title," said Ramesh.

In the other categories, the quartet of Mark Calton, Takuya Sawada, Creighton Connolly, Yuta Suda won the 42.195km open category, clocking in at 2hr 36min while team F1 Runners won the 21.1km open category (1 hr 20min).

The races were all flagged off by the Japanese ambassador to Singapore, Kenji Shinoda.

He said : "Ekiden is a long-held Japanese tradition and it is an honour to share this piece of culture with the runners here in Singapore. It is very encouraging to see Singaporeans and runners from around the region support a run that promotes the Japanese spirit."

The evening concluded with runners gathering at the Matsuri Race Village for an array of Japanese food, as well as themed-games and performances.