translated by Brett Larner
On Dec. 18 Kurobane Elementary School in Kurobanetamachi, Tochigi Prefecture, held its annual 42.195 km marathon ekiden. A team of 30 6th grade students and their teacher each ran from 13 to 14 100 m segments of a 200 m loop course on the school's grounds, passing a baton in a quest to beat British runner Paula Radcliffe's women's world record time of 2:15:25.
This year the 6th graders wore t-shirts printed with the runners' names. Continually accompanied by enthusiastic shouts of encouragement from their classmates, the ekiden team finished in a time of 2:09:22, reaching their goal of a 'new world record.'
Teacher Masami Murakami, 47, smiled, "Everybody did much better than expected." Anchor Shogo Kikuchi, 11, commented, "I'm glad we could all run til the end."