KOBE (Kyodo) A 26-year-old corporate worker from Takasago, Hyogo Prefecture, won the annual “Lucky Men” footrace Monday at Nishinomiya Shrine.

About 3,000 runners, including 108 in the lead group chosen in advance by lottery, bolted from the starting line when the shrine’s main gate was opened at 6 a.m.

The first to reach the main hall 230 meters away was Ryohei Takemoto, followed by Hiromichi Okoshi, a 28-year-old office worker from Minoo, Osaka, and Tetsu Toyama, a 26-year-old firefighter from Kyoto.

The shrine recognized the three as the luckiest men of the year, called the “fuku-otoko.” Toyama was last year’s top Lucky Man.

The famed shrine in the city of Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, is dedicated to the business god Ebessan.

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