For the iconic Mount Fuji 100, Friday marks the start of 3,400 runners’ grueling slogs around Japan’s highest peak — and the dawn of a new era.

Founded in 2012, the Mount Fuji 100, formerly known as UTMF, stands as Japan's pioneering ultra-trail race. Its formidable course, spanning approximately 166 kilometers (a little over 100 miles) with over 7,000 meters of elevation gain, traverses the roads, trails, and forests beneath the ever-looming symbol of Japan. Complementing the main race is the Kai loop, a challenging 70-km course boasting 3,500 meters of elevation gain.

Perhaps needless to say, neither course is for the faint of heart.