Nippon Sport Science ends drought

Kyodo

Nippon Sport Science University held onto its first-day lead to win the Tokyo-Hakone men’s collegiate ekiden road relay for the first time in 30 years on Thursday.

Nippon Sport Science completed the 217.9-km round trip between Tokyo’s Otemachi business district and the spa resort of Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture in 11 hours, 13 minutes, 26 seconds for its 10th overall title.

Nippon Sport Science made a massive improvement this year having placed 19th of the 20 participating universities in the 2012 edition. It booked a spot in the 2013 competition as one of the qualifiers from a preliminary contest.

The team started the final day with a 2:35 advantage and extended its lead after the seventh leg and pulled away for victory.

Toyo University, the defending champion and winner of three of the previous four races, was 4:54 back in second place, while All-Japan Collegiate Ekiden champion Komazawa University moved up from ninth place on Wednesday to place third, having won the return Hakone-Tokyo leg in 5:32:11.

Teikyo University was fourth and Waseda, second in the return leg, was fifth. Aoyama Gakuin University, which won the Izumo Ekiden that marks the beginning of the men’s collegiate ekiden season, could only manage eighth.