"Reasons for the high popularity of Hakone Ekiden (Hakone Relay) that fascinated the Japanese"

One of the indispensable activities in Japanese New Year's Day is watching the "Hakone Ekiden".
It is said that the audience rating of such popular show is more than 20%.

The Hakone Ekiden refers to "a round-trip relay race competition among Japanese universities with the route between Tokyo and Hakone", there are 21 teams from universities in the Kanto Student Athletics Federation to participate such competition, in which 10 teams are the seeded team of previous year's top 10, other 10 teams are the college teams selected through qualifying game, and the last one is the representative team of Kanto Student United.

Its route is starting from Tokyo's Yomiuri Shimbun to Hakone Ashinoko for turning back,
107.5km of go way,
and 109.6km of return way,
total 10 sections, needs running 217.1km, so it is the biggest competition in student's long-distance running competition.

The 10 runners do not use any props, they just run for a relay strip. Why does such a simple sport has so high popularity.

■The first reason
ou do not know what will happen next second!
Even the previous year's winning team, or the players faster than anyone else, or the team is in good condition, they must never be negligent before arriving at the finish line.

The speed of leading players may suddenly declined, or the exhausted players may begin to strike back。。。

The previous year's champion is not necessarily = the champion of this year, I think this must be one of the main reasons for the interesting of Hakone Ekiden.

■The second reason
The difficulty to pass the relay strip
There is a system called "Starting ahead of schedule" in Hakone Ekiden 。

This system means when the laggard team falls behind the first place with a certain distance, according to the judgment of referee, the next runner of laggard team has to start to run even his teammate has not arrived.

Once carried out this system, it means that the transfer of such team's relay strip is interrupted, and they must be failed.

Just due to the starting ahead of schedule for a little distance, the ralay strip is failed to transfer to the next team mate, some runners always burst into tears because they could not accept the truth.

The relay strip not only represents the efforts of 10 players, but also contains the beliefs of the players who has lost for selection, the coaches and teachers and other students. So the difficulty and ability to maintain their wishes touch the people's heart and can not be ignored.

■The third reason
Each player devotes himself completely to the Hakone Ekiden.
So does his team, many runners in the teams hold a strong belief to participate in the Hakone Ekiden.

"Even if it kills me, I will transfer the relay strip to my friend..", such player can be found everywhere.
The Television will also transmit the special program of the players with strong beliefs, so Hakone Ekiden wins a lot of popularity.

That's it, there are so many stories in the 10 sections of Hakone Ekiden.

Someone outdid himself for team's faith, this is the Hakone Ekiden.
Then what kind of story we will see in this year?