translated and edited by Brett Larner
The big test for Tokyo-area universities hoping to make the 92nd running of the New Year's classic Hakone Ekiden, the Hakone Ekiden Yosenkai qualifier road race is set to take place Oct. 17 in Tachikawa, Tokyo. Ahead of the Yosenkai, upper-level officials from the KGRR and the SDF Tachikawa Chutonchi Base met Sept. 3 to authorize an agreement of use of the base's runway for the start of the race course.
Participating in the signing were KGRR chairman Yoshiyuki Aoba, 73, and Tachikawa Chutonchi Base commander Masashi Kido, 52. Both dignitaries signed the agreement and affixed it with their seals. Chairman Aoba commented, "The number of schools participating in the Yosenkai is increasing every year. We hope for fine autumn weather on race day and another safe and successful qualifying race." Commander Kido concurred, saying, "Together with the students and local residents, we hope to offer our maximum support toward the success of the Yosenkai."
The 20 km Yosenkai course starts on the Tachikawa Chutonchi Base, running one and a half laps of the runway before heading out onto local roads. Passing by JR Tachikawa Station's North Exit, the course heads into Tachikawa's Showa Kinen Park for the finish. Schools racing in the Yosenkai are scored on the cumulative time of their top ten finishers. The top ten placing teams earn places at the 2016 Hakone Ekiden on Jan. 2-3 where they will join the ten schools who earned seeded places from the 2015 Hakone Ekiden. Ten more top-placing individual runners from schools that do not qualify as teams will be named to the Kanto Student Alliance team to participate in Hakone together.