News photoKomazawa University student Hiroki Tanaka runs the fourth leg of the Tokyo-Hakone collegiate ekiden road relay.

HAKONE, Kanagawa Pref. (Kyodo) Komazawa University student Shingo Sato clocked the fastest time in the third leg to lead his team to victory on the first day of the Tokyo-Hakone collegiate ekiden road relay on Friday.

Komazawa, which is seeking its third straight overall victory, finished the 107.2-km course from Tokyo’s Otemachi to Lake Ashinoko in the hot-springs resort of Hakone in 5 hours, 34 minutes, 34 seconds to claim its first opening day win in four years. Sato clocked a time of 1:04.16 on the 21.3-km third leg to give Komazawa University the lead before Hiroki Tanaka broke away in the penultimate leg to give the school its third first-day victory.

Tokai University, the winner of the all-Japan collegiate ekiden, trails by 3:26 in second while Asia University, last year’s 17th overall finisher, is third, 4:16 off the pace.

Last year’s opening day champion and overall runnerup Yamanashi Gakuin University got off to a sluggish start and are back in 11th.

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