Ekiden Relays- Sunday 17 July 2016

A Jolly Jaguars day out in sunny Suffolk!

The relays are held in the beautiful Woodbridge school grounds and a few of us did wonder why it is called ‘Ekiden’ – so for anyone curious….

The ‘Ekiden’ is a race which originated in Japan where teams of runners competed in a relay over long distances. The races are very popular and some attract TV audiences of over 1 million. Ipswich JAFFA have been staging the only Ekiden held in the UK for over 20 years.

For this event, teams of 6 compete over distances of 7.2k, 5k, 10k, 5k, 10k, 5k. (26.2 miles in total!), and it has gathered quite a following – this year 178 teams took part!

A huge thank you to Mel, who not only organised everything for us, drove the mini bus and sorted out the best way to ‘handicap’ our teams so that we held our very own race within a race.

Our 3 teams, with a few last minute alterations were evenly balanced and we were able to enjoy the junior race and have our ‘Mel’ guided tour to settle any last minute nerves!

We set up our gazebos beside the track and they provided a little shade for a very hot day. The course snaked around the school grounds enabling plenty of viewpoints for us to cheer on our runners at regular intervals.

Before the start we provided support to the 22 press ups for 22 days (in remembrance of the 22 US servicemen/woman who take their lives every day due to post traumatic stress….) – and in doing so provided the entertainment for the on looking clubs!

And we were off… it was relatively close in the battle of the jags for the first 2 legs… but an amazing 38.31 10k leg from Andy Mulligan created a lead for team 3 that despite tremendous efforts from all concerned, just could not be pulled back.

Nick Hudson’s excellent 10k also for team 3 (45.24) damaged all hopes of a close finish and I’m so pleased that after all his hard work in organising (and putting in a tough 10k leg for team 2!) Mel had the glory leg to bring team 3 home! (Had he planned this deliberately???)

A brilliant day out with a fun pub stop on the way home enabling us to refuel and enjoy the sun!

Some great times especially given the heat/conditions – well done everybody!

Team 1 Time Team 2 Time Team 3 Time
Stewart Marden 34.35 Emma Jordan 38.24 Ruth Gainsford 38.47
Paul Gerber 26.06 Sharn Ponsford 25.50 Jackie Gooch 26.45
Scott Shrubsall 46.31 Mel Porter 43.30 Andy Mulligan 38.31
Debs Jones 27.14 Lucy Anderson 22.58 Owie Barber 25.10
Sonya Wragg 53.16 Vicky Tovell 49.21 Nick Hudson 45.24
Andy Mulligan 18.54 Scott Shrubsall 25.50 Mel Porter 21.21

Overall results:

Team 1: 89th – 3.26.48 Team 2: 78th – 3.22.30 Team 3: 68th – 3.16.10

ekiden 2016