The Guam Ko’ko’ Road Race is Guam’s elite ekiden relay and half-marathon, so named to raise awareness of the plight of Guam’s territorial bird, the Guam rail or ko’ko’. A flightless bird endemic to Guam, the ko’ko’ population was decimated to near extinction by the brown tree snake, pesticides and other introduced detractors. Efforts to save the ko’ko’ from extinction are ongoing and public awareness and community involvement inspired by events such as the Road Race have made a remarkable impact. A signature visitor attraction, the race was first held in 2006 and participant numbers and prestige have grown with each succeeding year.
New Course for 2013
The 2013 Guam Ko’ko’ Road Race half marathon is 13.1 miles or 21.0975 kilometres. This new IAAF certified course is an out-and-back that starts in Tumon in front of the Guam Visitors Bureau, heads north on San Vitores Road for about a quarter mile before turning right up Route 14A (or commonly known as JFK hill), reaching its highest elevation. Cresting the top of the hill, runners will then head south on Marine Corps Drive (Route 1), encountering their only real incline on the way to the turnaround point. The race route remains on Route 1, passing through the village of Tamuning, Hagatna, and Anigua. They will reach the turnaround point which is just inside the boundaries of the village of Asan. The real test starts as the return leg is deceptively more difficult as it is a gradual uphill back to the highest point on the course at JFK hill. The course ends with a short descent down Route 14A, a slight incline in front of the Guam Marriott Hotel and then a final stretch to the finish line.
The Ekiden Relay is a 4-person relay consisting of legs of 3 miles , 3.03 miles, 3.03 miles and 3 miles. The ekiden course will remain entirely in the village of Tumon. The first runner will line up in front of GVB and will travel in the same direction as the Half Marathon course. Upon reaching the Route 14A intersection, runners will cross over into the outer-most south bound lane of San Vitores road and continue on until reaching the turnaround point located at the SandCastle. The runners will stay in the inside south-bound lane until reaching the starting the GVB intersection at which point runners 1, 2, and 3 will make a right turn down the hill into the Ypao Beach parking lot where the relay exchange point is located. The final relay runner will not run toward the exchange point upon finishing and instead will run straight to the finish line arch in front of GVB.
The Guam Ko'ko' Road Race was awarded the Sports Tourism Award from The Governor's Council on Physical Fitness and Sport in 2009.
What is an Ekiden Relay?
An Ekiden is a Japanese relay run. Eki means “location” and Den means “deliver.” In early days in Japan, important documents were expedited by several runners from one location to another. The sporting event of Ekiden is based on this classic courier service. A tasuki, or a sling or sash, symbolizes the package of documents. Four runners form a team, passing the sash (which is worn over the shoulder) between each runner at an exchange point. The team with the fastest total finish time wins the Ekiden.
The first Ekiden race was sponsored by the Yomiuri Shimbun in 1917 and was run over three days between the old Japanese capital of Kyoto and the modern capital of Tokyo, a distance of 508 kilometers, to celebrate the anniversary of the moving of the capital to Tokyo. The term ekiden was coined by the poet Toki Zemmaro (1885-1980) who was the head of the Yomiuri Shimbun’s Social Affairs Department at that time. The popularity of Ekiden in Japan is unsurpassed in any other country; however, it is spreading throughout the world with races in New Zealand, Canada, Spain, the Netherlands, China, Germany, France, the United States, Korea and now, Guam.
- Date: Sunday, October 20, 2013
- Show Time: 4:00 A.M.
- Go Time: 5:00 A.M.
- Venue: Gov. Joseph Flores Memorial Park, Ypao Beach, Tumon, Guam
|Until 8/30||Until 9/13||Until 10/16|
|Local Resident/ Military||$30||$40||$50|
|Local Resident/ Military||$60||$75||$100|