Hakone Ekiden

By Staff Writer
January 31, 2023
During fall and winter, Ekiden (marathon relay) races are held throughout Japan. Among them, the Hakone Ekiden has a long history and is one of the most popular. It is a two-day event held on January 2 and 3, in which university students from the Kanto region compete in running a 200-kilometer round-trip course between Tokyo and Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture. The race is divided into 10 sections, which are competed in a relay format. The Hakone Ekiden was started in 1920 at the urging of Shiso Kanakuri, a marathoner who competed in the Olympics. Every year on these two days, many people come to cheer the students along the roadside, hoping to catch a glimpse of them running hard under pressure. The Hakone Ekiden can be said to be a New Year's tradition, with many more people watching on TV in their homes.
A runner in in ekiden race, followed by a motorbike
An ekiden runner passes his relay sash to a teammate
A statue of ekiden runners, saying
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