During the STY (Shizuoka to Yamanashi) that was held on April 26 and 27, 2013, a section of the race course was blocked/barricaded by a local resident. As a result, STY participants were stopped for approximately 15 minutes during which much confusion ensued.
In order to create this 161km race course, the UTMF Race Committee obtained permission to use the roads, gravel roads, mountain trails whether public or private, from each and every one of the land owners/managers.
However, there are many people who live within the vicinity of this long race course that use these roads on a daily basis. This very unfortunate incident involved a particular person who was against the UTMF’s usage of the road near his home.
Fortunately, the STY racers who were stopped were eventually able to pass through this area with the assistance of the owners and managers of this area. A section of the course was also immediately altered to avoid further incidents. The UTMF race organization is currently in the process of discussing with the relevant parties, whether or not this altered section can be included as part of the official race course next year.
We were able to hold the second edition of the ULTRA-TRAIl Mt. FUJI thanks to the generosity and support of the many people. Support for this race by the local residents is also growing as more and more people gain an understanding of what this race is about. However, as can be seen from this incident, there are still many people in the greater community who do not have the same understanding.
Trail running is a new sport in Japan that is still not yet fully recognized especially since participants run up in the mountains making it difficult to “watch”. In order for trail running to become an accepted as part of the sports culture in Japan, the understanding and support of many people are crucial.
While this incident during the STY was extremely unfortunate, the UTMF Race Committee will continue to strive in earnest to improve understanding among the local residents. At the same time, we also need to be persistent in showing our commitment. We hope that the race participants, friends and family will join our team and help us by coming out to the trail cleanup days so that we can help deepen the understanding toward trail running in this area. We thank you so much for your support.
ULTRA-TRAIL Mt. FUJI Race Committee