Held every March on a circuit course around Lake Heiso in Kakogawa, Hyogo, on Jan. 24 it was learned that the this year's 39th running of the Heisoko Ekiden has been cancelled because the aging race organizers have found it too difficult to perform tasks suck as traffic control and security. A spokesperson from organizers Hyogo Prefecture Runner Association commented, "It will be difficult to continue to hold this race at Lake Heiso. We apologize to everyone who was looking forward to running it."
The Heisoko Ekiden was first held in 1980. Last year 272 teams totalling around 1600 runners took part. Despite such popularity, most of the members of the organizing committee are in their 70s, and their number has dwindled year by year. The decision to cancel this year's race was made at the end of last year, and officials and teams currently signed up have already been informed.
Organizing committee chairperson Hiroshi Kawasaki, 77, commented, "There has been talk about moving to another location and setting up a new race, but we've all gotten so old. I don't know what will happen in the future."
translated by Brett Larner