Introducing the Echigo Country Trail in Japan
We are excited to announce the Echigo Country Trail as our first Asia Trail Master points-scoring race in Japan! The colourful event, organised by a fervent international trail runner, is scheduled for 19 June and will therefore be the final race before the summer break. Runners can look forward to a varied course of 52 km long and just over 2000 metres of elevation gain. The Echigo Country Trail takes place close to Niigata, in Nagaoka, which itself is north of Nagano, a former Olympic Winter Games host city, and all of this is northwest of Tokyo.
Hiroaki Matsunaga sees a bright future for his event, which technically has its second edition this year, although the 52km course is brand new. "It is very exciting to be part of an international trail running series, and we welcome runners from all nationalities to come and visit this beautiful but little known mountain area, " says Matsunaga. "Meeting with local people, learning about our lifestyle and tasting our local food, your journey to Nagaoka-Niigata will leave everlasting impressions. After 50km or running, you may want to come back here to live!"
In fact, while the race is on Sunday, it will be more than worthwhile to make your way to Nagaoka and the Oguni Forest Park, the start and finish place, on Saturday. Local booths with traditional cuisine and cultural items will be set up, and in the late afternoon there will be an official opening ceremony and welcome party.
The race course will lead you between Echigo, Oguni and Ojiya countries on authentic local mountain trails. The race is set to commence at 6 a.m. and the cut off time is 10 hours later. Along the route, there will be no fewer than six aid stations. Accommodation can be booked and arranged in Oguni, Ojiya and Nagaoka, from where there will also be a shuttle bus to the race start at the Oguni Forest Park. International runners will be able to sign up for the event via Asia Trail Master as of Wednesday. By the way, beginning runners or children could also opt for a 15km short distance or a 2,5km Oguni Kid Race!