Stride (ストライド Sutoraido) is a fictional and futuristic sport (set in 2017) that combines parkour, free-running, relay and sprint. Each team consists of 5 runners and a relationer, who relays information to initiate relay sequences, by high-fiving the next leg within a transition zone, which is often a blind corner. The anchor that reaches the goal first wins for the team. The highest authority of the sport is the Japanese Stride Association, and teams compete in a series of races to qualify for the End of Summer Tournament. The first race of the school year, Spring Festival, is an exhibition race and is not counted.
- Sprint: a short interval sprint and initial burst of acceleration off the starting block, where the runner runs at full speed over a short distance. Riku is the best at this from Honan.
- Long: the endurance of continuously running over a long distance (up to 1km from the run towards the takeover zone). Heath is the best at this from Honan.
- Corner: the ability to maintain speed while taking sharp turns or long sweeping curves. Takeru is the best at this from Honan.
- Slope: the ability to handle downhill or uphill runs at a fast pace. Heath is the best at this from Honan while Riku easily concedes leads in sloped runs.
- Gimmick: pro-parkour and free-running techniques, and the ability to regain balance after a drop. Gimmick also means obstacles. This part is something Riku is poor at while Hozumi is the best at this from Honan.
- Mental: persevering through sheer will and the ability to play mind games with opponents. Ayumu is the best at this from Honan, not only as a shogi player but as a former relationer. Heath's stat is not as strong, but his match experience meant he doesn't get wound up as easily.
- Relationer: a non-runner that relays information to the runners via bluetooth headsets, and coordinate the starting signal for runners so they can make successful transitions.
- Starter: the first runner that takes the starting gun. Runners that are predominantly starters never receives tags from others, or receiving starting signals from relationers instead of the starting gun, and neither may they start at the same time as the opponents.
- Anchor: the final runner that crosses the goal. Runners that are predominantly anchors never give tags to others, or receiving starting signals from the starting gun. They would never had to find their own way to the end of the course.
- Takeover zone: the areas in which two runners tag up and switch. It is mostly blind, so collisions could occur.
- Perfect Relation: when the the tag is made as the previous leg leaves (but still inside) their takeover zone, while the next leg just enters theirs.
- Close Relation: when the the tag is made as both runners are dangerously close to being out of the takeover zones.
- End of Summer Trial Tour: 64 teams enter a single-knockout series, until 8 remains in the End of Summer Tournament.
Similarities and Differences
- The sport itself is run in the streets or indoors, but not on grassland, so unlike a steeplechase, you will also encounter walls, skateboarding halfpipes and pavements, even closed off train stations (Trial Tour at Shinjuku Train Station).
- Unlike track, the sport is of mixed gender, with female relationers also involved in the sport, despite being male-orientated as there are no female runners. However it is only between 2 teams rather than 8 in a normal relay race. It is also a semi-contact sport, where runners can jockey for position by nudging each other, but cannot impede transitions inside the takeover zones. Also, as Stride has no starting blocks, you can choose to get from a standing start (notably Saisei except Tasuku Senoo and Reiji Suwa) or a crouching start (notably Honan).
- Unlike a normal relay, where a baton is passed to the next member in plain sight throughout the relay phase, a high five completes the transition, and a relationer is needed to help with the transition as they cross paths only briefly in each other's peripheral vision, increasing the chances of collisions. Also, it could come right after or right on an obstacle (balancing beams, series of monkey bars), unlike a hurdle relay, where the transitional zone is effectively a clear path. The relationer relies on their tablet to 'see' the race as they are placed after the finish line, and a headset to relay information to the runners. All runners (excluding anchors) has to find their way to goal away from the course.
- Unlike middle-distance running, a 400m hurdles by the leadoff runner should still be done in a reasonable sprint, rather than trying to conserve energy. This still holds true for other legs, having to run further from their blind starting point before joining the actual track, which works out to be just less than 900m. Pacing is only needed when there are sloped runs.
- Even if one person is to run the full course with no relays or obstacles, the total distance of an event is around 2km, far shorter than a quarter-marathon, or half of a short cross country event. However, Stride is not known to be run in the mud or in mountain tracks.
- Like Ninja Warriors, if you hit the water (or go out of bounds), you and your team is out of the race. But unlike it, you CAN avoid or take on obstacles, take a completely different racing line or path to the opponent and not be penalized or be disqualified, so long as you stay in bounds.
- Unlike American Football, the sport is semi-contact, or non-contact. In terms of initiating play, it was initially thought that the runners are like wide receivers, but with headsets, and the relationers are like quarterbacks as they give the orders to start running their routes, but Mihashi changed all that where the runners only react to the captain's call using his phone, any calls the relationer uses is just a bluff to throw the opposing relationer off.
- Comparing to Professional League of Legends teams, a relationer acts like an analyst in the sense that they are in charge of the game's team compositions and analyze the match during and after the match away from the course, but runners become 'shot-callers' to start the relations sequence, and not the analyst. Coaches do not participate at all in the race, but in LOL, coaches can replace the role of an analyst in the on-screen team compositions.
- Comparing to NASCAR, A relationer acts as a spotter in the sense that they give information about time splits or imminent dangers, but spotters must be in clear view of the actual track, or part of the track in a road course, but there is only one relationer, and they have no visuals of the track at all. Also spotters are only responsible for one driver, not the team. Coaches are like crew chief in the sense that they also relay information to the driver, the pit crew and maybe the team.