Komazawa University held on to its overnight lead to win the Tokyo-Hakone collegiate ekiden road relay Jan. 3 for the second time in three years and eighth time overall.
Komazawa became the fifth school to sweep collegiate ekiden’s three major titles in a season, having won the Izumo Ekiden in October and the national championship in November.
After the 109.6-kilometer return leg from the mountainous hot spring resort of Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture to Tokyo’s Otemachi business district, the Tokyo-based school won in a two-day combined time of 10 hours, 47 minutes and 11 seconds.
In the 99th running of the annual race that began in 1920, Komazawa anchor Hibiki Aogaki crossed the finish line 1 minute, 42 seconds ahead of Takumi Sukegawa of second-place Chuo University.
Komazawa started the return leg with a 30-second lead it built over Chuo the previous day, and never looked back.
“My manager told me to make things easier for Aogaki, so I ran hard to extend the lead,” said Ko-mazawa captain Chikara Yamano, who ran before the anchor. “To win the Hakone Ekiden was my goal since I came to this university. I continued to train hard.”
The Hakone Ekiden is broadcast live on national television on Jan. 2 and 3 every year.
Roadside spectators were allowed for the first time in three years amid the continued spread of coronavirus infections. (Kyodo)