Hakone Ekiden (箱根駅伝), which is officially called Tokyo-Hakone Round-Trip College Ekiden Race (東京箱根間往復大学駅伝競走 Tōkyō Hakone kan Ōfuku Daigaku Ekiden Kyōsō ), is one of the most prominent university ekiden (relay marathon) races of the year held between Tokyo and Hakone in Japan on 2 and 3 January. The race is telecast on Nippon Television.
This two-day race from Ōtemachi to Hakone and back is separated into five sections on each day. Due to slight variations in the courses, the first day distance is 108.0 km while the distance on the second day is 109.9 km. Only male runners are allowed to run.
- 1 Rules
- 2 Courses
- 3 Origin
- 4 Level of Competition in 2010
- 5 Anecdotes
- 6 Problems
- 7 Winners
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Five sections are provided between Tokyo and Hakone each way. Each runner runs one section, alternates with the next runner at a station. Each team has ten runners, running with their teams' sashes which are handed over to the next runner on the team at each station.
If a runner cannot get to a station within twenty minutes after the top runner reached it, the next runner starts with a substitute sash. The time difference is added to the goal time.
Twenty universities, which belong to The Inter-University Athletic Union of Kanto (関東学生陸上競技連盟 Kantō gakusei rikujō kyōgi renmei ), can participate in this Ekiden. Ten of them have seed rights which they got the previous year, nine are the best nine universities in a preliminary contest, and the tenth is a group of runners made up of those who do not belong to any of the 19 universities but achieved a good record in a preliminary contest.
Teams above 10th place get seeded and can participate in the Hakone Ekiden the next year.
If a runner retires en route to a station because of an accident, his team is treated as retired. Although runners for following sections may run, their times are not officially recorded.
The first half, January 2
This is one of the most important sections because the first runner’s rank affects how the team performs in this marathon relay. Teams usually enter a strong runner run in this section. The whole course is flat, but there are some slopes at Shin-Yatsuyamabashi (新八ツ山橋) and Rokugōbashi (六郷橋).
The second section (23.2 km) From Tsurumi to Totsuka
Traditionally, the fastest runner in each team usually runs on this course. This course is very severe because there are two long and steep slopes.
The third section (21.5 km) From Totsuka to Hiratsuka
In this section, there are strong sea winds, though considered scenic, with Mt. Fuji and Sagami Bay as opposing backdrops. Many spectators go to this section to cheer runners. The number of them is the largest of all sections.
The fourth section (18.5 km) From Hiratsuka to Odawara
This section is the shortest of all sections. There are many slopes, so it is difficult for runners to keep their pace.
This section is the longest one. Runners must run up steep slopes, which is about 800m high. This is considered the most severe section.
The second half, January 3
The sixth section (20.8 km) From Lake Ashi, Hakone to Odawara
At first runners run up a little, then they run down steep slopes. These slopes are very hard on runners' legs, so a lot of them slow down just before goal. They start running at about 8 o’clock. To protect themselves against the cold, many of them wear uniforms with long sleeves.
The seventh section (21.3 km) From Odawara to Hiratsuka
The difference of temperature between the start and the goal is larger than any other section. This course is almost flat until 9 km, but after that there are some ups and downs. The record of this section is the oldest of all section.
The eighth section (21.5 km) From Hiratsuka to Totsuka
The first half of this section is almost flat, but second one has a slope so-called Yugyōji-no-saka (遊行寺の坂) which causes runners severe difficulties. Some teams which run around the 10th place start to worry whether they are seeded or not.
The ninth section (23.2 km) From Totsuka to Tsurumi
This section is the longest in the second day’s sections. There are many downs, so runners must control their speed. At this section, many teams reverse their places.
The tenth section (23.1 km) From Tsurumi to Otemachi, Tokyo
This is the last section of Hakone marathon race (Ekiden). This course is almost flat, but sometimes a strong wind blows among the very tall building. There are many fans who cheer runners, so runners feel a strong pressure not to disappoint the fans.
Hakone Ekiden was started in 1920. Shizo Kanaguri, who is known as the father of the Japanese marathon, conceived the idea. His enthusiastic idea of bringing up a runner who could compete in the world became the driving force of establishing Hakone Ekiden. When Kanaguri was a Tokyo Koto Shihan school (Koshi) student, he participated in Olympic Games in Stockholm in 1912 as one of the representative Japanese marathon runners. He had to give up his race on the way, however.
In the meantime, the first ekiden, Tokaido ekidentohokyoso (東海道駅伝徒歩競走) was held in 1917 between Sanjō Ōhashi, Kyoto and Ueno Shinobazunoike (上野不忍池) Tokyo, celebrating 50 years after Tokyo became the capital. This race was a big relay race between Kyoto and Tokyo (516 km) held by Yomiuri Shimbun for three days. It succeeded and became the original form of Hakone Ekiden. Kanaguri was influenced by the success of the race and persuaded many universities that they should race in the Hakone Ekiden. As a result, Waseda Univ., Keio Univ., Meiji Univ. and Tokyo Kōshi replied to his offer and Hakone Ekiden started. Hakone Ekiden was started with great energy of the pioneers in Japanese sports society. It started during World War I, so industrial areas gradually expanded to the west and the Tokaido road was widen. Reflecting this active atmosphere, the Japanese sports society, including ekiden one, were developing great challenging spirits at that time.
Level of Competition in 2010
To give a taste of the quality of competition in the Hakone Ekiden, consider the profile of the athletes in the 2010 (86th) race. Of the 380 athletes (190 runners and 190 alternates) that represent the 19 universities, 328 have run under 14:40 for 5,000 meters; 150 at 14:20 and 33 under 14:00. This figure compares very strongly with USA collegiate men from all schools: athletic.net's list of collegiate men 5000 meters in 2009, which lists approximately 400 athletes at 14:40, 200 at 14:20 and 60 under 14:00 in 2009. Stepping up to the 10,000 meter distance, the same sources show that these 19 Tokyo universities list over 190 runners with personal bests under 30:00 (14 more sub 30 minute runners make up an all-star team of runners from other Tokyo universities); about 90 USA collegians ran under 30:00 in 2009.
At first, Hakone Ekiden was held irregularly, and runners usually started in the afternoon so that runners could study in the morning. Thus runners, especially in fifth section, had to run at night. Moreover, the start and goal point was provided but the course was not, so runners could choose their own way.
Soon after the war, many students in high school were not willing to go to university or college because they were poor, and ekiden-skilled students also were not. So each team had to participate in the ekiden with those who had not experienced ekiden: rugby players, skiers or other sports players. However, going to higher school gradually become general and each university could organize a stronger team.
Today Hakone Ekiden has become one of the most famous sports events in Japan. The whole race has been broadcast live on Nippon Television since 1987. More than one million people cheer runners along the course. The Hakone Ekiden Museum in Hakone was built in 2005.
Today the Hakone Ekiden has various problems.
In 1989, an international student ran for the first time as a team member of Yamanashi Gakuin University and he gave Hakone Ekiden a lot of impact with his great skills. Since 2005 the sponsor has limited the number of registered international students to 2 per team and the number of participating international students to 1. However, there are many arguments about international students. Supporters of international students insist that it is discrimination that runners should be chosen not for their capability but for their race. However, Japanese students complain about the gap between Japanese and foreign students.
Withdrawals for the Race
Recently many withdrawals have happened. More qualified runners are entering as the Hakone Ekiden becomes more popular. In addition, managers do not want them to stop from the perspective of team, and they cannot stop them because all runners have trained for many years to reach the goal. However, unprepared participants risk the prospect of a career-ending injury.
The Hakone Ekiden has become popular sports events in Japan, so universities have good staff and runners to increase their chances. Non-university teams, such as company teams, do not have such staff. Moreover, to run such a long way as the Hakone Ekiden may shorten young runners' running lives. According to many critics, this has caused a decline in Japanese male marathoners, such as in participation in the Olympic games marathon. On the other hand, female Japanese runners, who are not allowed to participate in the Hakone Ekiden, have done well in marathons. For example, Naoko Takahashi won the gold medal at the Olympic games in Sydney and Mizuki Noguchi won one in Athens.
Since 2008 a group of cyclists has proceeded the race in an annual tradition. The primary challenge is to stay just ahead of the runners enjoying the open roadway afforded by the race closure. Very few cyclists are able to maintain the fast pace up the final grade and must resolve to drop out and join the ranks of all the other spectators cheering the runners.
|1920||1||Tokyo University of Education|
|1969||45||Nippon Sport Science Univ|
|1970||46||Nippon Sport Science|
|1971||47||Nippon Sport Science|
|1972||48||Nippon Sport Science|
|1973||49||Nippon Sport Science|
|1975||51||Daito Bunka Univ|
|1977||53||Nippon Sport Science|
|1978||54||Nippon Sport Science|
|1980||56||Nippon Sport Science|
|1983||59||Nippon Sport Science|
|1992||68||Yamanashi Gakuin Univ|
|2013||89||Nippon Sport Science|
Shizo Kanaguri Trophy
This prize is awarded to the most valuable runner. This was founded in 2004(80th) to admire Shizo Kanaguri's accomplishment.
|2004||80||Yukiharu Kanegae||IUAU Team (Tsukuba Univ)|
|2005||81||Masato Imai||Juntendo Univ|
|2006||82||Masato Imai||Juntendo Univ|
|2007||83||Yuki Sato||Tokai Univ|
|Masato Imai||Juntendo Univ|
|2008||84||Jun Shinotou||Chuo Gakuin Univ|
|2009||85||Ryuji Kashiwabara||Toyo Univ|
|2010||86||Ryuji Kashiwabara||Toyo Univ|
|2011||87||Akinobu Murasawa||Tokai University|
|2012||88||Ryuji Kashiwabara||Toyo Univ|
|2013||89||Shota Hattori||Nippon Sport Science Univ|
They overtook the highest number of runners in one section.
|1||20||Gitau Daniel||Nihon Univ||85/2|
|2||17||Akinobu Murasawa||Tokai Univ||87/2|
|3||15||Takuro Nakagawa||Juntendo Univ||79/2|
|Gitau Daniel||Nihon Univ||84/2|
|5||13||Hideaki Date||Tokai Univ||84/2|
|Yuki Sato||Tokai Univ||85/3|
|7||12||Makoto Hattori||Tokyo Nogyo Univ||50/2|
|Kensuke Oda||Kanto Gakuin Univ||79/2|
|Ombeche Mokanba||Yamanashi Gakuin Univ||81/2|
|Mekubo Mogusu||Yamanashi Gakuin Univ||82/2|
|11||11||Masato Imai||Juntendo Univ||81/5|
|Kōsaku Hoshina||Nippon Sport Science Univ||82/2|
|Gitau Daniel||Nihon Univ||86/2|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tokyo-Hakone collegiate ekiden.|
- "箱根駅伝公式Webサイト -衛星画像マップ-" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2008-01-02.
- "箱根駅伝公式Webサイト" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-01-02.
- "箱根駅伝コースマップ" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2008-01-11. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
- "箱根駅伝とは―歴史―" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
- Kamiya, Setsuko, "Hakone Ekiden gave relay races new fascination", Japan Times, 7 December 2010, p. 3.
- 第８６回箱根駅伝パーフェクトガイド (2010 86th Hakone Ekiden Spectator's Guide), １月別冊付録 (January Supplement), 陸上競技マガジン (Track and Field Magazine, January 2010) 第60巻第１号 ( Vol 60 No. 1), pages 11-30
- "東洋大復路もV、初の総合優勝…箱根駅伝" Yomiuri Shimbun, January 3, 2009
- "日大・ダニエル、驚異の新記録「20人抜き」" Yomiuri Shimbun, January 2, 2009
- "Upstaged / Kashiwabara helps Toyo pass Waseda in final stage, move into position for 3-peat" Yomiuri Shimbun, January 2, 2011