Team Serena wins ASICS World Ekiden Athlete Challenge 2021

Subas Gurung goes under 32 minutes for 10km to clinch ASICS Ekiden title for his team, as 18 athletes battle it out at East Coast Park

PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG


21 November 2021, Singapore - Morning showers that swept Singapore's East Coast could not dampen the spirits of 18 athletes who took on the Athlete Challenge in this year's ASICS World Ekiden event on Saturday morning.

PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG


Team Serena crossed the finish line first with an impressive team time of 2:27.49 to deny Team Daniel what would have been a miraculous come-from-behind victory, with the latter trailing in third place at the start.

PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG


Runner of the final 10km leg for Team Serena, Subas Gurung, punched the air as he crossed the finish line amidst jubilant scenes from his team mates. It was double joy for Subas' as he also clocked his first sub 32 minute 10KM run, taking home a new personal best of 31:54.

PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG


Led by three ASICS athlete ambassadors - Serena Teoh, Daniel Leow, and Shah Feroz, this year's ASICS World Ekiden race was modified into a three team Athlete Challenge event, with original plans for a mass participation road race being converted to a virtual run owing to tightened Safe Management Measures.

Team Draw


A team draw was then performed by the three team captains at the ASICS Office, in which every team had to choose a balance of male and female athletes, with six runners completing each team.

PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG


In what was a hugely anticipated race for some weeks featuring some of Singapore's finest runners, the race finally flagged off at 5.15am at East Coast Park yesterday, and Team Serena raced into an early lead through Tan Chong Qi, clocking 16:58 in the 5KM leg of the race. Hot on his tail were Ng Wei Quan of Team Feroz (18:55) and Connie Arcella of Team Daniel (19:05).

PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG


Battle of Team Captains


The second leg would be a battle of team captains as Shah Feroz and Daniel Leow took charge of their team's runs in the 7.195km leg. A lung bursting run by Leow saw him come in as the fastest 2nd leg runner at a split time of 25.49, closing the gap on Feroz's second placed team to just 4 seconds. Feroz clocked 25.55 for his run, while Jason Tan of Team Serena managed to fend off the challengers with a steady time of 26.00.

PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG


Team Daniel, comprising runners from the Singapore Shufflers, were slowly but surely making progress as the race wore on, with Vanja Cnops (18.06) stealing into second with her third leg 5KM run, coming in ahead of Helen Han (21.43) of Team Feroz, as both teams still trailed Team Serena at this point who were led by Maki Inami (18.09).

PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG


Gaining the Upperhand


Drama happened in the fourth leg of the race, as Team Daniel overtook Team Serena to gain the upperhand of the race with Zack Cater-Cyker 34.42 minute 10KM run placing him ahead of rivals Mohd Najib Bin Mooiz (35.32) and Nabin Parajuli (37.20).

PHOTO: CHERYL TAY, SPORTPLUS.SG


Team Daniel continued to blaze a trail ahead as the race entered its final stages with a Team Time of 1:53.58 at the end of the fifth leg, as Gen Foo's split time of 16.16 (5KM) edged his team closer to victory, with Toh Ting Xuan (19.16) of Team Serena and Jasmine Goh (19.48) of Team Feroz trying to chase down the lead.

Photo: Cheryl Tay, SportPlus.SG


Twist in the Tale


There was yet to be another twist in the tale however, as the race sash passed from Toh Ting Xuan to Subas Gurung to make for a crazy end and dramatic finale to the race.

Photo: Cheryl Tay, SportPlus.SG


It finished Team Serena (2:27.49), Team Daniel (2:29.26), Team Feroz (2:39.16).

Photo: Cheryl Tay, SportPlus.SG


The virtual version of the ASICS World Ekiden Race is currently ongoing. Members of public can take part by creating or joining a team of up to six runners. Each teammate will run between 5K and 10K, totaling a marathon’s distance.

Photo: Cheryl Tay, SportPlus.SG


The Ekiden is a Japanese relay that's all about teamwork and friendly rivalry —resulting in a shared feeling of harmony and uplift. Ekiden teams are traditionally made up of six team members; however, smaller teams can participate in the ASICS World Ekiden 2021.

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