Ekiden Relay attracts 22 teams as part of O'Keefe Marathon

MARATHON DAY: Sandra Slatter is looking forward to a big weekend.

MARATHON DAY: Sandra Slatter is looking forward to a big weekend.

ONE of the more unique events on the O'Keefe Marathon program, Sunday's Ekiden relay has attracted 22 teams.

Teams of seven runners will cover the 42.195km marathon distance in relay fashion, with individual runners completing legs ranging between three and 10 kilometres.

Event director Sandra Slatter said the event had proved popular in last year's inaugural marathon, giving runners a choice of short or longer distances.

"This year the traditional Ekiden sash will be transferred from runner to runner providing local teams with a real Ekiden experience," Slatter said.

"The other difference is the course will follow the marathon event course from Junortoun to Heathcote on the O’Keefe Rail Trail. Last year it was out and back from Heathcote."

Runners will compete in several categories, including male, female, mixed, athletes with disabilities and secondary schools.

The relay format is considered huge in Japan.

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