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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The Yokota Striders Running Club is hosting its 24th annual Ekiden Race on Sunday.

A 2K Children’s Fun Run is set for 9 a.m., followed by an individual 5K road race at 9:30. The Ekiden relay race, with four runners each completing a 5K, begins at 10:30 a.m.

Last year, more than 4,500 Japanese runners from all over the Kanto Plain took part in the race.

Organizers said the event will not be canceled by rain. But the exact course layout, which is still being mapped out, will require several detours and road closures around the Supply Gate, Yokota High School, Yokota Middle School and the Yokota Par 3 golf course from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on race day.

Some facilities also will be shut down or have limited hours, the 374th Force Support Squadron announced.

The Auto Hobby Center will be closed. The Yokota Par 3 driving range will remain open but will be accessible only on foot until 2 p.m., when normal operations at the golf course are to resume. Yokota’s new Pet Boarding and Grooming Facility will be closed for morning visitation but will reopen at 4 p.m.

Ekiden races are held all over the world, but its popularity is unsurpassed in Japan, where the event originated.

The country’s first race was sponsored by the Yomiuri Shimbun in 1917. It was staged over three days between the old Japanese capital of Kyoto and the modern capital of Tokyo — a distance of about 315 miles — to celebrate the anniversary of the capital’s relocation.

For 27 years, the Striders also have hosted the annual Frostbite Half-Marathon and 5K Road Race each January.

More information about the Ekiden Race can be found on the Yokota Striders Running Club Web site at http://www.yokotastriders.com.


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