Honolulu Ekiden & Music Festival celebrates 5th Anniversary

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Honolulu Ekiden Foundation invites you to "Ho?ohui Pa?ani" or "Be united in play" at the Fifth Annual Honolulu Ekiden and Music Festival. Last year, the Foundation brought more than 1,300 runners together for a relay race and music festival, and once again welcomes runners to register for its 2017 event on May 21st.

The Honolulu Ekiden and Music Festival culminates in a star-studded concert finale at the Waikiki Shell, featuring hip-hop, reggae and rock sensations, Dirty Heads, known for their hits "My Sweet Summer," "Lay Me Down," and recent release "That's All I Need." Their current single "Oxygen" from their self-titled album is out now. Grammy-nominated and internationally known Gin Blossoms, are recognized for their numerous hits including "Hey Jealousy" and "Follow You Down." Singer/songwriter Piko Taro is best known for his smash viral sensation hit "Pineapple Pen Apple Pen" and his latest song "Orange Juice." And extremely popular Japanese rock band FLOW will also perform.

Participants in the relay are encouraged to register in two to six-member teams before May 18. The registration fee includes participation in the Ekiden race and admission to the nighttime music festival at the Waikiki Shell (tickets are first come first served for the first 2,000 participants).

The Honolulu Ekiden and Music Festival is the only one of its kind in Hawaii, bringing Japan?s Ekiden tradition of a marathon-length relay race to the islands. In ancient Japan, the Ekiden was a method to pass along important news from provinces to the capital with multiple messengers, completing different segments of the journey. Today, the event symbolizes teamwork and cooperation to achieve a common goal, with races held throughout Japan. It is the goal of the 2017 Ekiden to promote tourism, foster cultural understanding between the residents of Hawaii and Japan and provide a way for friends, co-workers, running and military groups to participate together in a race that not only promotes teamwork and competition but most importantly is a lot of fun.

"Ekiden races are very popular in Japan, where they bring people together for friendly competition. Our goal is to bring some of that goodwill to Hawaii and develop a stronger relationship between the people of Hawaii and Japan," said Honolulu Ekiden Foundation Secretary Jon Nakata. "For many, a full marathon might be too much of a challenge, but now, participants can form a team and complete the race with friends, family or co-workers."

The 26.2-mile race will start and end at Kapiolani Park and features six segments, with each member completing one or more legs of the race, then handing off a sash to be worn by the next runner. Prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in 15 divisions, including youth, high school, university/college, corporate, heroes, family and kamaaina. There's also a contest for the best team costume. As with Ekiden races in Japan, local volunteers will encourage runners at the stations, adding to the fun and excitement of the event.

Immediately following the Ekiden race from approximately 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. everyone is invited to unwind and recharge as we continue to "Ho?ohui Pa?ani" with an impressive entertainment festival. An exciting variety of Hawaiian and Japanese entertainment will take place at the Kapiolani Bandstand, adjacent to the Ekiden finish line. The awards ceremony will start approximately at 10:30 a.m. Concert festivities at the Waikiki Shell begin at 5 p.m. with the entrance gates opening at 4 p.m. The concert will run from 5 to 9:15 p.m. featuring Piko Taro, FLOW, the Gin Blossoms and Dirty Heads live!

For more information visit www.hnlekiden.org or to purchase tickets for the concert only, visit www.ticketmaster.com, charge by phone at 1-800-745-3000 or visit the Blaisdell Box Office.

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