translated by Brett Larner
At the Shizuoka Prefectural Assembly's regular meeting on Mar. 6, Governor Heita Kawakatsu confirmed that the Mount Fuji Women's Ekiden, first held last December, will be held again at the end of this year. The news came in response to a question from Assembly representative Sakae Endo (Jimin Kaikaku Kaigi Party, Fuji City).
The ekiden commemorates Mount Fuji's registration as a World Heritage Site and served as the National Women's Invitational Ekiden Championships, the first time that event has been staged in Shizuoka. At the first running twenty teams from across the country raced over a seven-stage, 43.4 km course in the foothills of Mount Fuji.
Governor Kawakatsu commented, "With 80,000 spectators having turned out to cheer along the course and impeccable race organization, we gave the event a very high evaluation. TV viewership ratings within Shizuoka were an excellent 14.3%, and more than 90% of local residents surveyed said that they would like to see the race held again." The governor said that for these reasons, on Jan. 24 the prefecture's Executive Committee approved plans for the second edition of the ekiden at the end of the calendar year. The exact date of the race is yet to be determined.