The 44th running of the Mount Fuji Ekiden, starting and finishing in the city of Gotemba and covering the entire ascent and descent of Mount Fuji, took place Aug. 4. A total of 132 teams from across the country took part. The local Takigahara SDF Base won the Self-Defense Force division for the fifth year in a row, with Kagoshima's Shimizu Running Club winning the open division. Complete results here.
The course starts in front of JR Gotemba Station, with teams of six covering 47.93 km in 11 stages climbing 3258 m to Mount Fuji's peak and back down. Each runner must run twice, once uphill and once downhill, except the sixth runner whose stage covers the final ascent tot he peak and the beginning of the return trip down. Inclines of more than 35 degrees in the climb up to the turnaround point at Asama Shrine Okumiya and return descent challenged the strength of the Sixth Stage runners' legs. Likewise for the Seventh and Eighth Stage runners, who slide through loose sand and gravel as they hurtle downward.
translated and edited by Brett Larner