Running from central Gotemba to the peak of Mount Fuji and back, the 43rd Mount Fuji Ekiden took place August 5. 128 teams of six athletes each gathered from across the country to compete with each other and with Mount Fuji. Starting at JR Gotemba Station, the course climbed 3258 m to Mount Fuji's summit before returning back down to the finish at the municipal track and field grounds. The 11-stage race covered a total of 47.93 km, with five of the six members of each team running two stages apiece.
Most teams' strongest members ran the uphill Fifth Stage and downhill Sixth Stage, each with an altitude difference of over 1000 m. Steep, sandy ground sucked the energy from their legs on the upward bound Fifth Stage, while on the famous deep sands of the Gotemba Route forced them to descend the Seventh Stage leaping and sliding. Sixth Stage runners had their tasuki stamped by a priest at Asami Shrine at the top of the mountain as proof that they had reached the summit.
The local Gotemba Takigahara SDF Base won the Self-Defense Forces division for the 4th year in a row. Aichi's Toyota Sportsman Club led the general division for the 11tth straight year. 2017 highlights:
translated by Brett Larner