The very first Ekiden, or road relay, started today 99 years ago!

Ekiden or road relays are a very well-known and beloved type of road race in Japan. In a typical Ekiden, teams of 6 or more runners cover 42.195km (26.2miles) or longer, relaying sashes. Kyoto is called the birthplace of Ekiden. Do you know why?

This is because the very first Ekiden began in Kyoto today (April 27th) in 1917. The course followed the old Tokaido Way, starting from the Sanjo Ohashi Bridge in Kyoto to the Shinobazu Pond in Ueno, Tokyo. It took 3 days for the race to finish, covering over 500km (310 miles). Unbelievable!

Nowadays we do not have long-distance relay races like this, but Kyoto is still the city of road races, such as the All-Japan High School Ekiden Championship and the Empress’s Cup- Interprefectural Women’s Ekiden races, with many relay races held annually.

Kyoto Marathon’s Pair Ekiden comes from the history of Ekiden in Kyoto. Isn’t it amazing that this old city has history even in road races? Are you wondering who will take part in making history next year?

Entries for Kyoto Marathon 2017 will start this summer. Details will be released in July. Wait till then!

  • The very first Ekiden, or road relay, started today 99 years ago!


Kyoto Marathon Entry & Hotel Reservation Desk

JTB Sports Station
7F JTB Bldg 2-1-25, Kyutaro-machi, Chuo-ku, Osaka, 541-0056 Japan
TEL: +81-6-6267-5163(hours 9:30-17:30; closed Sat.,Sun.,holidays)