Inspired by the Japanese running culture, runners of all abilities across the globe will work together to complete a combined virtual marathon called ASICS World Ekiden 2020. The race will be split into six legs of varying distances with teams of six people from all over the world participating.
It will also combine the best of real-world and virtual racing. From tracking their team progress in real time on their Apple Watch, Garmin or Fitbit device to ranking themselves on live online leaderboards and enjoying a customised in-race audio experience, participants can experience the excitement, connection and motivation of team competition no matter how far apart they are.
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They will even have to pass their very own digital tasuki – the narrow band of fabric used in traditional Japanese Ekidens – to each other at the end of every leg. The launch of the race comes in response to the findings of ASICS’ ongoing global research into the ever-changing needs of runners and sports fans the world over.
The research, which kicked off immediately after the pandemic began, reveals that 42 percent of people who exercise regularly are finding it difficult to stay motivated as they don’t have a goal to work towards at the moment.
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Three in four (74 percent globally) of team sport players say sport or exercise is more enjoyable when played with friends and teammates and two thirds (67 percent globally) admit to missing the chance to compete with others, says the finding. Half (50 percent globally) even claim their mental wellbeing has been negatively impacted by being disconnected from teammates, it added.
Yasuhito Hirota, President and Chief Operating Officer, ASICS, said: “It may be inspired by one of Japan’s most famous race formats, but the ASICS World Ekiden 2020 really is an event like no other.”
“At ASICS, listening to runners of all levels and understanding their evolving needs is at the heart of everything we do. Right now, that means helping bring back the mental, physical and social benefits that come with team sport. But as life continues to change in future, we’ll keep on innovating new products, services and events that deliver the experiences people want.”
Ekiden 2020 is open to all. People simply sign up for free using Runkeeper or the ASICS hub. Teams must complete their relay race between November 11-22. (IANS)