Skip to main content

AGU's Coach Hara Talks About Behind-the-Scenes Financials of University Ekiden World

Aoyama Gakuin University long distance head coach Susumu Hara, 53, appeared on a sports news TV show last week alongside Kansai University American football head coach Hideaki Toriuchi, 61. Under Hara's leadership AGU won January's Hakone Ekiden for the fifth time, while Toriuhi led KU to its twelfth national collegiate title in late December. Representing the best of east and west Japan, the two coaches dissected the state of collegiate sports in the Reiwa era.

Right after Hakone this year, men's marathon national record holder Suguru Osako, a Hakone star during his years at Waseda University, tweeted, "Even if we won Hakone, there was not a cent of return for the athletes." With viewership ratings of 27.5% for its first day on Jan. 2 and 28.6% for its second day on Jan. 3, as a broadcast product the Hakone Ekiden is a titan. With regard to the distribution of funds from broadcast rights coach Hara said, "Whether you win or come last, the amount doesn't change. It was 500,000 yen [~$4,650 USD] per university in the form of funds to support training. At a certain time that became 2,000,000 yen [~$18,600 USD]. This year we got 3,000,000 yen [~$27,900 USD].

The show's host Ryuichi Kosugi, 46, threw out, "There's a lot more money than that being made, right?" Coach Hara laughed as he answered, "They have a financial report. By all means, feel free to put in a request to see it." Asked whether 3,000,000 yen was enough to cover the AGU ekiden team's operating costs for the year Hara replied, "No, I don't think it's enough. On average the universities that compete at the Hakone Ekiden have about 60 members. That works out to 50,000 yen [~$465 USD] apiece. We work the entire year preparing for Hakone, of which about 60 days are spent at training camps. One night's stay with three meals costs about 7000 yen [~$65 USD] at the absolute cheapest places. Add in transportation, shoes, physio, nutrition. Even excluding academic costs I think that's going to be at least 1,000,000 yen [~$9,300 USD] per person.

Coach Toriuchi said the situation was much the same in football. "We're in the red for sure," he said. Together with coach Hara, the two of them briefly pulled back the curtain on the often-ignored goings on in the back kitchen of collegiate sports.

source article:

translated by Brett Larner
photo © 2012 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

Buy Me A Coffee


Most-Read This Week

Kanazawa Marathon to Stop Runners at 21 Locations Due to Election

Due to be held the same day as voting in the upcoming election for the House of Representatives, runners at the Kanazawa Marathon can expect to be stopped at over 20 intersections on the course in order to allow voters on their way to the polls to pass without interference.  Scheduled to be held Oct. 31 after last year's race was canceled, the Kanazawa Marathon will take place while voting polls for the House of Representatives election are open. On race day, road closures for the marathon will be in place for up to 6 hours, but the locations of 14 polling stations on the course mean that voters will need to be able to cross through intersections. 50,000 voters are expected to use these locations, and while city officials are calling for people to utilize early voting or polling stations not affected by road closures then have made the decision to place security personnel at 21 intersections to stop runners when necessary. The Kanazawa Marathon already has this policy in place at

Weekend Overseas Marathon Results

With the Tokyo Marathon having canceled due to guidelines written in the pre-vaccine era some of Japan's top marathoners have had to go overseas this season. Men's national record holder Kengo Suzuki  (Fujitsu) was at Sunday's Chicago Marathon . Suzuki seemed to be staying calm in the lead group, but when the real move came he didn't have the same kind of closing speed he had at March's Lake Biwa Marathon and was left behind by the lead true. Suzuki ended up 4th in 2:08:50, the fastest time by a Japanese outside Japan so far this year. Seifu Tura Abdiwak  (Ethiopia) took 1st in 2:06:12. The next day at the Boston Marathon , Tokyo Paralympics women's gold medalist Misato Michishita  (Mitsui Sumitomo Kaijo) had a quick turnaround to win Boston's first-ever T11/T12 division race. In the elite women's race Shiho Kaneshige  (GRlab Kanto) tailed the lead pack with America Elaina Tabb through the first half of the race according to plan on sub-2:30 pace. But

February's Ome 30 km Road Race Canceled Due to Pandemic

On Oct. 14 the organizers of Tokyo's Ome 30 km Road Race announced that the popular event's 55th running, scheduled for Feb. 20, 2022, will not go ahead and will instead be postponed a year. Organizers said that due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic they had concerns about being able to stage the event in a way safe for runners, local residents, race staff and volunteers. The Ome 30 km's 55th running was originally scheduled for February, 2021 but was postponed to 2022, meaning the new decision will in effect be a two-year postponement.  The Ome 30 km Road Race was founded in 1967. Starting in the western Tokyo suburb of Ome, the race follows a mountainous route along the upper Tama River gorge and back. Featuring both 30 km and 10 km races, the race seen wins from Olympic gold medalists like Naoko Takahashi  and Mizuki Noguchi , and is one of Japan's most popular races for amateur runners, with over 12,000 finishers every year. In place of the 2022 event, organizers