Track runner wins ‘lucky man’ race

KOBE (Kyodo) A fleet-footed college student from Osaka outraced about 6,000 other men Sunday for the honor of being this year’s “Luckiest Man” by being the first to reach the main hall at Nishinomiya Shrine.

Hidetoshi Minami, 22, of the Osaka University of Health and Sports Sciences, won the 230-meter mad dash in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, after the shrine’s main gate was opened at 6 a.m. to the sounds of a drum.

Minami is a member of his university’s track club.

“This is the best moment in my life so far. . . . I want to deliver good results in track races and stay healthy,” he said after the annual race.

While the origins of the annual ceremony date as far back as the Kamakura Period (1192-1333), participants started racing to the main hall during the Edo Period (1600-1868).

The top three men are given the title of “Lucky Men” for the year, and the champion gets to be called the Luckiest Man.