A vehicle nearly struck a runner in the 93rd Hakone Ekiden in Japan on Jan. 3 as the course crossed through a major intersection. Video of the incident surfaced on Twitter shortly after the incident and has since been shared more than 22,000 times.
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According to Japan Running News, police were directing vehicles as Koya Nakagami approached the intersection. As he neared, officers were unable to stop traffic. As Nakagami entered the major intersection at Hibiya Crossing, he was just able to avoid colliding with a small white van, which had a green light at the time. The 22-year-old runner was OK and would complete his portion of the race.
“This was the first time I’ve nearly gotten in an accident during a race,” Nakagami tweeted out describing the series of events. “I thought I was gonna die.”
The Hakone Ekiden is a two-day event, split into five stages on each day, with the second day being 109.6 kilometres. The ekiden is held between Tokyo and Hakone. Ekidens are a popular form of long-distance relay running.
According to Japan news outlet BIGLOBE, there were comments made about the role of traffic control including “there is no point [to have closed roads] unless it’s 50 metres ahead” and “police guidance is slow.” Organizers of the Hakone Ekiden added that the safety of the runners is their primary concern.
More information on the event can be found at Japan Running News.