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Hakone Ekiden Qualifier Returns to Road Course But Family and Fans Still Banned From Start/Finish Area

On Sept. 29 the KGRR released guidelines for cheering at the 99th Hakone Ekiden Qualifying Half Marathon, scheduled for Oct. 15. The race will be put on in compliance with the JAAF's road race guidelines. For the last two years it was held on a closed course around the runway of the SDF Tachikawa Air Base runway in order to keep spectators out and reduce the risk of coronavirus infection. This year it will return to its traditional course starting on the runway, heading out onto the Tachikawa city streets, and finishing in Showa Kinen Park next to the SDF base.

But the KGRR guidelines call for spectators to stay away, saying, "Athletes can feel your support even if you're not along the course. We ask all ekidens to watch this year's race on TV." All athletes and team staff, race organizers and other official personnel must file information on their physical condition for the 10 days before the race. Only those categories of people and university cheerleader teams registered in advance will be allowed in to the start point at the SDF base, a traditional gathering point for fans, alumni and family.

"We ask all alumni and other related parties from participating universities to stay away and not to come cheer along the course or in Showa Kinen Park," read the KGRR guidelines. Banners and flags with universities will be strictly prohibited along the course.

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translated by Brett Larner

photo © 2014 Brett Larner, all rights reserved

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