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Daiwa Foundation Grants Award to Support the Inaugural UK Ekiden Race

The United Kingdom is gearing up for an exciting new addition to its sports calendar, and the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation has pledged its support to the inaugural UK Ekiden race. The Daiwa Foundation, known for its commitment to fostering cultural exchange and mutual understanding between Japan and the UK, has graciously extended a grant to help bring this unique sporting event to life.

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Ekiden, a traditional Japanese relay race, has long captivated enthusiasts around the world, and interest is on the rise in the UK. The UK Ekiden race is set to debut in 2024 and promises to be a thrilling and culturally significant event.

This year’s UK Ekiden race holds a special significance as it is being held in celebration and admiration of the world-famous Hakone Ekiden, which marked its 100th event in January 2024. The Hakone Ekiden has a rich history and is renowned for its exceptional level of competition and teamwork. We aim to honor this milestone by embracing the spirit of Ekiden and promoting teamwork among participants.

The grant provided by the Daiwa Foundation will play a crucial role in facilitating the logistics and organization required to make this race a reality. Anna Dingley, Founder of the UK Ekiden, expressed deep gratitude for the Foundation’s support, saying, “We are tremendously honored to have the Daiwa Foundation’s endorsement for the UK Ekiden. This grant will help us develop more sporting cultural ties between our nations and also showcases the shared enthusiasm for sports and tradition.”

Jason James OBE, Director of the Daiwa Foundation, said “Running is enjoying a boom in the UK at the moment, partly driven by the popularity of ‘parkrun‘ on Saturday mornings. It seems like the ideal moment to introduce a Japanese-style ‘Ekiden’ team competition. I hope this race will bring a new sense of excitement to the UK’s running scene and boost the popularity of running still further.” 

The UK Ekiden will follow a scenic route along the Thames Path, from Oxford to Windsor and will feature 21 teams from universities, corporations and other organizations. The Ekiden format brings a great sense of teamwork, fostering camaraderie and a shared sense of achievement among participants.

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