translated and edited by Brett Larner
日刊スポーツ(1/4)裏一面から。 pic.twitter.com/na0k7P7ghq— ゆう・Ｔ (@aquamarine4320) January 4, 2017
Anchoring the Hakone Ekiden's Tenth Stage for the Kanto Region Student Alliance select team, Tokyo Kokusai University fourth-year Akito Terui scored what quickly came to be called the "Phantom Stage Win." As a member of the Kanto Alliance team Terui's time did not count in official results, but his 1:10:58 beat the 1:11:00 time of official stage winner Naoya Sakuda of Juntendo University by two seconds.
Two years ago Terui trained with top-level Hakone schools Aoyama Gakuin University and Toyo University. Putting the lessons he learned to work, last year he finished 13th on the Third Stage in Tokyo Kokusai's Hakone debut before running the fastest anchor time this year. "It was a miracle," Terui said post-race. "I was trying to run the fastest time but I didn't think I'd really get it. This makes up for blowing it at the Yosenkai." Having beaten the best of the traditional Hakone powerhouses, he left a strong impression as an individual. His time, however, will not be in the record books. "That's what the rules say," he said with an unhappy smile. "It'd be nice if my time was there, though."
Official stage winner Sakuda also expressed complicated feelings about his first-ever stage "win." Hearing that Terui had run two seconds faster than his 1:11:00, Sakuda said, "I thought, 'No way!' A loss is a loss. If someone is even one second faster than you, they're better than you. Getting the stage win trophy is pretty iffy. If another runner was better I think they should get it."