PHILIPPINE national marathoner and Asics endorser Mary Joy Tabal and Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Ganados are taking part in the ASICS World Ekiden 2020: the ultimate running challenge this month.

Inaugurating this year, the online relay running challenge, happening from Nov. 11 to 22, will see teams of up to six people from across the globe come together to complete a combined marathon. It is inspired by a century of Japanese running culture.

The race will be split into six legs of varying distances, making it perfect for runners of all abilities and experience.

Ms. Tabal, one of the top marathoners in the country and a gold medallist in the Southeast Asian Games will be part of one of two regional teams founded by ASICS to share training tips and key race preparations to those participating.

She is joined in her team by Singapore marathoner Serena Teoh, Malaysia marathoner Michelle Chua, Indonesia race walker Hendro Yap, and Thai sprinter Jirapong Meenapra.

Ms. Ganados, meanwhile, is included in the amateur team which will discuss motivators of participation. Along with her in the group are ASICS’ other regional celebrities and influencers, namely, Singapore actor Zong Zijie, radio host Aishah Sinclair from Malaysia, Indonesia actress Sahila Hisyam, and Thai actors Toey Pongsakorn and Neng Sarun Naraprasertkul.

“I am so excited to share that I am taking part in the ASICS Virtual Ekiden Relay alongside athletes in the Southeast Asia region! This is exciting, form your team and sign up,” wrote Ms. Tabal, 31, on her Facebook page.

She went on to share that she is looking forward to the challenge since her training was hampered by restrictions brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.    

Organizers of the ASICS World Ekiden 2020 promise an exciting running experience for those participating, citing how it combines the best of real-world and virtual racing through a new race platform using both Race Roster and the ASICS Runkeeper app.

Participants can track their team progress in real-time on their Apple Watch, Garmin or Fitbit device as well as rank themselves on live online leaderboards and enjoy a customized in-race audio experience.

They, too, will even have to pass their very own digital tasuki — the narrow band of fabric used in traditional Japanese Ekidens — to each other at the end of every leg.

The ASICS World Ekiden 2020 is open to all. To take part, sign up for free using Runkeeper or the ASICS hub — Michael Angelo S. Murillo