Reflecting on the Event! 22km Edition Part 1

To all the runners who participated and the wonderful community members who cheered us on during the Echigo Country Trail 2024, we hope you’ve had a chance to recover from the excitement! How’s everyone feeling?

The feedback, impressions, and comments shared on Facebook and Instagram were truly heartwarming. Your thoughts mean the world to us. We’re taking a moment to reflect on the event, acknowledging areas for improvement, and aiming to make next year even better.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane, focusing on the venue and aid stations through a collection of photos.

Arriving at the venue just before 9 AM, we found many of you already there, inspecting the course and making preparations. It was delightful to see so many friendly faces willing to pose for pictures – the morning was off to a great start!

On the right side of the photo, you’ll find the dedicated team from Ohkubo Kousan. Their chairman hails from Oguni, and employees volunteered to participate, showcasing incredible local pride!

We’d like to express our gratitude to WEST for providing trail running shoe rentals. This year, the On (“Cloud Vista” and “Cloud Venture”) models were available. With a variety of sizes, it was a fantastic opportunity to try them out.

Wearing matching sky-blue T-shirts, students from Oguni Elementary School conducted a course preview. Almost all students, from 1st to 6th grade, participated in the 2.5km race. For 1st and 2nd graders, the option of free parental assistance during the run was well-utilized, allowing parents, and even grandparents, to join in.

A big shoutout to Tokimingo (Niigata City) and the medical team who took on the race management and first aid duties. Trail running events through the mountains require professional support, and we’re grateful for your expertise.

Thanks to everyone, the event could be held successfully. We appreciate your continued support today and beyond!

The orange T-shirts were worn by local Oguni Junior High School students, who provided support along the route and assisted at the aid stations. Additionally, the volunteers from Boy Scout Nagaoka Troop 1 generously joined in to lend a hand. Many other volunteers also contributed their time and efforts. A heartfelt thank you to everyone!

During the opening ceremony, we had the honor of hearing a few words from guest runner Chizuru Obuchi! As previously mentioned in our blog, Ms. Obuchi secured an impressive 3rd place overall (1st among Japanese runners) and received the New Hero Award for athletes under 29 at the Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji (UTMF) held from April 21 to 23. A rising star in the trail running community, Ms. Obuchi hails from nearby Ojiya City and shared that the Echigo Country Trail marked her first trail running experience.

The 22km race started right on schedule at 10:30 AM! The starting signal was given by Alude-kun, the official mascot of Niigata Albirex BB, who made the journey from their home base at Aore Nagaoka to visit us here in Oguni Town! By the way, Alude-kun is a boy swan.

For the first stretch, participants enjoyed running through serene rural landscapes.

The initial aid station was located around 4km from the start, in the Suwai settlement. From this point onwards, the trail gradually became more challenging, featuring inclines typical of trail running, leading into mountainous paths. Since runners were still close together at this point, the aid station got a bit crowded. Despite the fine weather and the course lacking shade, everyone seemed to be in good spirits, and the support from the Suwai settlement was particularly enthusiastic.

fter passing the Suwai Aid Station, runners traversed through the mountains for a while before entering the Hosue settlement. Since we’ve only covered about 4km and the blog has already become quite lengthy, we’ll wrap it up here for now. Stay tuned for the next installment!

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We have placed trail markers along the course.

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Reflecting on the Event! 22km Edition Part 2