Now for all my readers who are based in Zurich, SOLA requires no further explanation. However, since my website access statistics toolkit tells me that there are also a few of you from around the world, let me quickly fill you in. SOmmer LAuf (= summer run) is an annual relay race organised in spring in Zurich, Switzerland. Approximately 1000 teams of 14 runners each sign up for one day of relay racing (with strongly variable seriousness of commitment to win) in the larger Zurich area. Well, guess what, ~14 000 runners handing over a sweaty relay baton somehow did not seem like a great idea to the organisers in Covid-19 threatened 2020, and so the event like, so many others, was cancelled.
What I did not know before moving to Japan, was that long-distance relay racing actually has a very long history and high standing here. 駅伝 ‘Eki-den‚, literally ‚train station-connection‘ is the Japanese word for such relay races, accurately named so because the first type of this race was held a long time ago in Japan, connecting the Kyoto and Tokyo train stations (according to what an engraved stone in the middle of Kyoto city says, ando backed up by Wikipedia).
Now you may wonder, why I would even care, because even if SOLA 2020 had not been cancelled, I would have been geographically prevented from participating this year, since I moved to Japan. But why should I be generally bothered by such trifling things as geographic locations, or time zones, and so in cases like this I don’t just take a no for a no.
Enter the birth of world-ekiden, or better, the first ever ‚Kuni-den‘ 国伝 = ‚country connection‘: more than 20 people in 5 countries were brave enough to answer my call to run/walk/cycle and even kayak for a total of over 16 hours in one continuous race against earth’s rotation, spanning from Kyoto to Seattle!
Handover of the virtual baton was of course performed virtually, ensuring personal distancing and enabling boarder-and-ocean-crossing connections.
This sounds like fun?
You want to participate?
Great! Then stay tuned on the website of EquipSent, because the Kuni-den 2021 might become reality in the form of a charity run.