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Jobu University Qualifies for its First Hakone Ekiden

translated by Brett Larner

At the Oct. 18 Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai [Qualification Race], Jobu University's ekiden team finished 3rd to qualify for the 85th Hakone Ekiden in only the team's 5th year of existence. On Oct. 20 Takasaki city mayor Yukio Matsuura held a reception in the Jobu ekiden team's honor, heartily congratulating them and urging the team on to success in the Jan. 2-3 main event.

Head coach Katsuhiko Hanada and 20 runners from the team appeared at the reception. Mayor Matsuura addressed them, smiling as he told them, "You are the first [team] from Gunma Prefecture to run the Hakone Ekiden. Show us all something special when we see you on TV." Coach Hanada discussed the team's performance at the Yosenkai and its goals for Hakone, saying, "Our runners believed in themselves, and they ran outstandingly. We're aiming for the seeded bracket [top 10] in Hakone, and running as one united whole we can do it."

The team members, all dressed in suits, each gave somewhat nervous speeches. 3rd-year Mao Fukuyama (20), who last year became Jobu's first runner to compete in the Hakone Ekiden when he ran the legendary uphill 5th stage on the Kanto Regional University Select Team, finishing with the 3rd-best time on the stage, promised with obvious confidence, "If I am put on the 5th stage again this year I will win it."

Jobu University's main campus is in Isesaki city, Gunma Prefecture, but its administration offices are based in Takasaki city. Jobu University president Kukie Mitsuma and other top university officials also attended the reception.


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