Have you ever heard of an “Ekiden”? Many of us hadn’t either until about a month ago. An Ekiden is a long-distance relay race in which each member of a six person team runs a leg of either 5km, 7.2km or 10km to complete a full marathon.
At Evenflow, earth observation is our thing. So why are we talking about a relay race named after a Japanese stagecoach courier system? Well, this past Saturday we took our determination and enthusiasm out of the office and on to the racetrack for the Brussels Ekiden.
Unfortunately, earth observation has little to do with running a marathon past mapping the route—and after spotting Olympic marathon runner Bashir Abdi outside the stadium we were pretty sure 1st place wasn’t our destiny that day. But our knowledge of EO isn’t the talent we were hoping to get us through a marathon, it was our teamwork. It might sound cheesy but it’s true. We entered the race as a strong team and crossed the finish line six hours later even stronger. With every pass of the tasuki, a cloth sash we each wore as we ran, we could feel the dedication and effort which it represents grow.
I know, I know, it’s dramatic but what else do you think you would get out of a relay? It’s the ultimate team effort. Although each runner had to complete their leg on their own, without each individual effort the race could never move forward. Each person must carry the weight they are responsible for, and they do so because they know that there are five other team members counting on them to round the corner with the tasuki in hand and move the team 5, 10, or 7.2 kilometres closer to the finish line.
Not one of us expected to stick around for the whole 4.13 hour race on a Saturday, but, sure enough, it became a family affair. Team members brought their children and partners which ultimately brought us closer together as a team as we told stories and discovered shared interests and backgrounds. And that’s really the aim, right? We knew we would never come in first but that’s not what we set out to do. We only ever hoped to grow closer friendships and build our strength as team Evenflow.