The shibuya Ekiden changed its location this year from Oda athletic track and surrounds to inside Yoyogi Park. Each leg is 2.8 km. The Ekiden is for the community of Shibuya Ward, and since Namban Rengo's registered address is in Shibuya, we attend each year. Our numbers have really taken a bit of a jump lately, I suppose with a peak of interest in running due to the Tokyo Marathon and a bit of a raised profile for us.
So today we had more teams than ever before: 8 open mens, 3 masters mens, and 6 womens. Our top teams won the open mens (Gordon finally making it to the starting line and having a good run and Brett running with a broken toe) and womens divisions. Seeing Mika sprinting her guts out to catch a junior high school boy right at the end of the women's victory was a marvellous sight.
I was in the so-called masters A team. Our masters B team kicked our butts for three legs, and then poor Gareth, who had been unfairly drafted into the anchor position of Team B by the dastardly GPAA, was never going to hold off the flying Juergen. But alas, there was one team ahead of both of us, our arch enemies, the Shibuya Police. So we got 2nd and our Masters B came third, so not a bad effort overall. I was pretty happy with my run of 9:46 (3:29/km) on that fairly tight little course. A number of people said they thought the course was a bit short, and now that I think about it, I don't think I could have averaged 3:29 with all those twists and turns. Still, I know I worked very hard and was breathing like a steam train, so who knows...all I know is I ran hard and was happy enough with the result.
Due to family and some work commitments I wasn't able to get a long run in yesterday and had to settle for a squeezed-in 10k. So after the ekiden a group of us did not hang around but stowed bags in lockers at the nearest subway station (Harajuku) and ran to the Imperial Palace for a couple of laps and back to Harajuku for a 20 km run. With 5 km warmup before the race and the race itself and a few other odds and bobs I recorded about 31 km for the day, but not exactly comparable to a continuous 31 km. I was tired afterwards though!