Ekiden Rotorua Weekend

As is fast becoming our annual tradition, last weekend we headed off to Rotorua for a spring break and to run the Ekiden relay race!
The last time we were in Rotorua was earlier this year with Kane's parents, the blog post about that is here: Rotorua Summer Getaway 

What is Ekiden?

Ekiden Rotorua is a relay race held on the 42.2km marathon course and is split into 6 legs of varying distance: 1: 7.5km, 2: 7.88km, 3: 7.93km, 4: 8.27km, 5: 4.74km, 6: 5.88km.  Some have hills, some are mostly flat.  Instead of passing a baton, the current runner wears a sash and passes this on to the next runner.
Race Website: Ekiden Rotorua

How we got started

In 2013 my friends mother had roped her and another friend of mine to be part of their walking team for the Ekiden relay race and even though the weather was just awful that year, they really loved it and wanted to put together their own team for the following year.  
I was part of their team in 2014 and it was such a fun weekend.  We raved about so much afterwards that more friends wanted to take part so this year we had 2 teams! 
Ekiden Rotorua is also the self proclaimed world fancy dress championship so we like to take part and dress up, this year we were heroes and villians.
(1) Our 2 teams all together at the start
(2) Team 1 at the finish (3) Team 2 at the finish


Kane and I headed down to Rotorua from Auckland on the Friday night, which was about a 4 hour drive.  Most of the others had taken the day off work to head down earlier in the day and some of group had travelled up from Wellington.

We arrived at 9pm and checked in.  A short while later the last 3 of troupe arrived and we gathered in one of the rooms to collected our chips, bib and race freebies which, this year, was a t shirt and a gym towel.

Kane and I hadn't had the chance to eat dinner but had brought some food with us, so we headed back to our room to make pasta and sauce and relax after our drive.

Race Day

We woke up feeling well rested and had coffee and some toast with cheese for breakfast.  We put on our running costumes and made some adjustments.  We both went as Fantastic Four members, me as Susan Storm (the Invisible Girl) and Kane as Reed Richards (he preferred to be referred to as Mr Fantastic).

We met with the others and made some last minute team changes as some people needed to switch distances and others needed to switch teams.

Once we were all sorted we headed out to make the race briefing at 8.30am.  The race walkers had already started at 8am and the route went past our motel so we got to see some fun costumes on our drive to the start.

(1) The Start Line (2) Glenn and Tania our first 2 runners
(3) Kelly passing the sash to me with Glynn hot on her tail! (4) At the end waiting for the prize giving

Our teams first runners, Glenn and Tania took off and my group jumped in to my car to head to the first change over point, while some of the others headed off to get coffee and breakfast.  We spotted Glenn first and cheered and waved and then a little further up we spotted Tania looking strong and cheered and waved her on too.

We got to the first change over point and hung around waiting for them to come in.  Tania was first and handed over the sash to Charlie.  A short while later Glenn came in and handed the sash to Kane.  Speedy Kane took off and managed to run over all those hills even faster than last weekends race!

The rest of the race was spent hopping from one change over point to the next, stopping to beep the horn, wave and cheer at our runners.  The only break was when it was my turn to run.  I put on my headphones and zoned out for an hour.

Soon it was time to make our way to the finish line where we would meet our last runner and then all run up to the finish line together.  Charlie and Tania, from the other team, had their car break down so Glenn and Kelly of our team had finished with the first team in order to collect their medals and then go to help them.  Charlie needed to stay with her car so Kelly brought Tania back so that she could cross the finish line with our team.  Kelly ended up crossing the finish line with both teams and that's why she's in both team finish photos, but at least she was able to collect Charlie's medal for her.  And roadside assistance sorted out Charlie's car so it was all good in the end.

(1) Change over point 1 group shot (2) Finishers medal
(3) Glynn doing a gangnam style dance? (4) Catherine cruising in to the change over point

Post Race

Prize giving finished at about 4pm and we were starving so we made a bee line to pizza hut which we could see across the park and then headed back to our motel to enjoy our pizzas.  Then we went into pool. 

The pool is the number 1 reason we come to this motel.  It's heated to around 37degC from the geothermal activity that Rotorua is famous for and there are also two indoor mineral pools.

This year some of us brought pool noodles to just float around with and it was perfect!

Last years pool photo as we didn't take one this year!

After hanging out in the pool for ages, we then got cleaned up and hung out in one of the rooms and enjoyed some wine and MTV classics.

The following morning we checked out and then headed for a group breakfast before going our separate ways again.  A most enjoyable weekend!  We're already in discussions for next years costumes :D

My Official Stats:

Leg: 4
Distance: 8.27 km
Time: 1:02:51
Pace: 07:36 min/km

I did better than last year by 4 minutes but I got really bad cramp last year.  I think I need to do more hill training!


One Response so far

  1. This sounds like so much fun! That is awesome that you improved your time by 4 minutes! That is awesome! Sounds like such a fun time with friends!

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