Hakone Ekiden

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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 January 2 and 3. 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.[1] 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.[2]


Five sections are provided between Tokyo and Hakone each way. Each runner runs one section, and alternates with the next runner at a station. Each team has ten runners, who each run with their team's sash which is 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 reaches it, the next runner starts with a substitute sash. The time difference is added to the goal time.


Daito Bunka University cheer staff demonstrates that school spirit is an important aspect of the Hakone Ekiden.

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 are seeded teams that qualify by virtue of finishing in the top ten the previous year. Nine more teams qualify through their team results at the Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai, a 20 km qualifier held in the October preceding the race. A final select team, the Kanto Region University Student United Team (関東学生連合チーム, Kantō gakusei rengō chiimu), made up of top-placing individuals at October's Yosenkai 20 km Road Race from universities that do not qualify for Hakone as teams.[3] The 2014 race did not include a select team, and before 2014, the select team was called the Kanto Region Select Team (関東学連選抜チーム, Kantō gakuren senbatsu chiimu), and were also constituted by a selection of top runners from universities that did not qualify as one of the 19 participating teams.

Seed rights[edit]

Teams above 11th 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.


First half, January 2[edit]

The first section (21.3 km) From Ōtemachi, Tokyo to Tsurumi, Yokohama

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 (23.1 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 (21.4 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 (20.9 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.

The fifth section (20.8 km) From Odawara to Lake Ashi, Hakone

This section is the longest one. Runners must run up steep slopes, which is about 800m high. This is considered the most severe section.

Second half, January 3[edit]

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 (21.2 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 eighth section (21.4 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 (23.1 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 (23.0 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.[5] 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.[6]

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 widened. Reflecting this active atmosphere, the Japanese sports society, including ekiden one, were developing great challenging spirits at that time.

Level of competition in 2010[edit]

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.[7] This figure compares very strongly with US 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 US collegians ran under 30:00 in 2009.


Year Iteration University
1920 1 Tokyo University of Education 
1921 2 Meiji Univ
1922 3 Waseda Univ
1923 4 Waseda
1924 5 Meiji
1925 6 Meiji
1926 7 Chuo Univ
1927 8 Waseda
1928 9 Meiji
1929 10 Meiji
1930 11 Waseda
1931 12 Waseda
1932 13 Keio Univ
1933 14 Waseda
1934 15 Waseda
1935 16 Nihon Univ
1936 17 Nihon
1937 18 Nihon
1938 19 Nihon
1939 20 Senshu Univ
1940 21 Nihon
1943 22 Nihon
1947 23 Meiji
1948 24 Chuo
1949 25 Meiji
1950 26 Chuo
1951 27 Chuo
1952 28 Waseda
1953 29 Chuo
1954 30 Waseda
1955 31 Chuo
1956 32 Chuo
1957 33 Nihon
1958 34 Nihon
1959 35 Chuo
1960 36 Chuo
1961 37 Chuo
1962 38 Chuo
1963 39 Chuo
1964 40 Chuo
1965 41 Nihon
1966 42 Juntendo Univ
1967 43 Nihon
1968 44 Nihon
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
1974 50 Nihon
1975 51 Daito Bunka Univ
1976 52 Daito Bunka
1977 53 Nippon Sport Science
1978 54 Nippon Sport Science
1979 55 Juntendo
1980 56 Nippon Sport Science
1981 57 Juntendo
1982 58 Juntendo
1983 59 Nippon Sport Science
1984 60 Waseda
1985 61 Waseda
1986 61 Juntendo
1987 63 Juntendo
1988 64 Juntendo
1989 65 Juntendo
1990 66 Daito Bunka
1991 67 Daito Bunka
1992 68 Yamanashi Gakuin Univ
1993 69 Waseda
1994 70 Yamanashi Gakuin
1995 71 Yamanashi Gakuin
1996 72 Chuo
1997 73 Kanagawa Univ
1998 74 Kanagawa
1999 75 Juntendo
2000 76 Komazawa Univ
2001 77 Juntendo
2002 78 Komazawa
2003 79 Komazawa
2004 80 Komazawa
2005 81 Komazawa
2006 82 Asia Univ
2007 83 Juntendo
2008 84 Komazawa
2009 85 Toyo Univ[8]
2010 86 Toyo
2011 87 Waseda
2012 88 Toyo
2013 89 Nippon Sport Science
2014 90 Toyo
2015 91 Aoyama Gakuin
2016 92 Aoyama Gakuin
2017 93 Aoyama Gakuin
2018 94 Aoyama Gakuin
2019 95 Tokai Univ
2020 96 Aoyama Gakuin

Shizo Kanakuri Trophy[edit]

This prize is awarded to the most valuable runner. This was founded in 2004(80th) to admire Shizo Kanakuri's accomplishment.

Year Iteration Name Univ
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
2014 90 Kento Ohtsu Toyo Univ
2015 91 Daichi Kamino Aoyama Gakuin Univ
2016 92 Kazuma Kubota Aoyama Gakuin Univ
2017 93 Kiyohito Akiyama Nippon Sport Science Univ
2018 94 Keisuke Hayashi Aoyama Gakuin Univ


Section Time Records[edit]

Following are the time record for each of the section from the current course in effect.

Section Time Name University Iteration (year)
1 1:01:06 Yuki Sato Tokai 83 (2007)
2 1:05:57 Akira Aizawa Yamanashi Gakuin 96 (2020)
3 0:59:25 Vincent Yegon Teikyo 96 (2020)
4 1:00:30 Yuyu Yoshida Aoyama Gakuin 96 (2020)
5 1:10:25 Hayato Miyashita Toyo 96 (2020)
6 0:57:17 Ryoji Tatezawa Tokai 96 (2020)
7 1:01:40 Hiroki Abe Aoyama Gakuin 96 (2020)
8 1:04:05 Yoshida Tetsuhiro Yamanashi Gakuin 73 (1997)
9 1:08:01 Shinoto Jun Chuo Gakuin 84 (2008)
10 1:08:40 Yudai Shimazu Soka 96 (2020)

Overtook Records[edit]

They overtook the highest number of runners in one section.

Place number Name Univ Iteration/Section
1 20 Gitau Daniel Nihon Univ 85/2[9]
2 17 Akinobu Murasawa Tokai Univ 87/2[10]
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
Yoshinori 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

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "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.
  2. ^ "箱根駅伝公式Webサイト" (in Japanese). Retrieved 2008-01-02.
  3. ^ "Hakone Ekiden Kanto Select Team to Return Without Results Being Counted". 2014-03-05.
  4. ^ 箱根駅伝コースマップ (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2008-01-11. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
  5. ^ 箱根駅伝とは―歴史― (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2008-01-22. Retrieved 2008-01-25.
  6. ^ Kamiya, Setsuko (2010-12-07). "Hakone Ekiden gave relay races new fascination". Japan Times. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  7. ^ "第86回箱根駅伝パーフェクトガイド" [86th Hakone Ekiden Spectator's Guide, January Supplement]. 陸上競技マガジン [Track and Field Magazine]. Vol. 60 no. 1. January 2010. pp. 11–30.
  8. ^ "東洋大復路もV、初の総合優勝…箱根駅伝" Yomiuri Shimbun, January 3, 2009
  9. ^ Shimbun, Yomiuri (2009-01-02). "日大・ダニエル、驚異の新記録「20人抜き」". Archived from the original on 2012-03-24. Retrieved 2019-10-10.
  10. ^ Shimbun, Yomiuri (2011-01-02). "Upstaged / Kashiwabara helps Toyo pass Waseda in final stage, move into position for 3-peat". Archived from the original on 2012-10-13. Retrieved 2019-10-10.

External links[edit]