translated by Brett Larner
Skirting the feet of Mt. Fuji, the Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden national university women's invitational ekiden championship race is set to go off again this year. Co-organized by the Fuji city government, the race's third edition will be held at the end of the year on Dec. 30. For the first time, its field will include a select team made up of top Shizuoka talent.
The course is the same as in the first two runnings, starting at Fuji Hongu Sengen Shrine in the city of Fujinomiya and covering 43.4 km in 7 stages on the way to the finish at Fuji Sports Park Field in Fuji. 20 schools will race including top finisher teams from October's Morinomiyako Ekiden national university women's championships. New this year, the Shizuoka Prefecture Student Select Team will feature university and graduate student athletes who graduated from junior high schools and high schools in Shizuoka Prefecture. The Select Team will not count in scoring, but, said a Fuji city government official, "Spectators and TV personnel told us, 'Since this race is in Shizuoka we want to see more runners from Shizuoka,' and so we've put this team together."
Last year the Mt. Fuji Women's Ekiden was broadcast on tape delay, but this year it will feature a live nationwide broadcast on Fuji TV. Mayor Yoshimasa Konagai commented, "Since it's now at the very end of the year I think this race is going to become even more popular. I hope our Shizuoka athletes bring great runs."