Some sports are just better watched on television.  Although it’s always great to see athletes perform in person, for many events you just can’t get the right vantage point to see all the action.

Take the Hakone Ekiden relay marathon held every year on the second and third of January. One of the most popular running events in Japan, 20 universities from the Kanto region of east Japan enter teams of ten to race a grueling two day relay totaling over 200km.

It’s a physically intense race over mountainous terrain in the cold of mid-winter.  And it’s truly inspiring to see these athletes show such high levels of endurance… from your home watching TV under a blanket and sipping hot cocoa.

For those brave souls who ventured out into the cold to support the runners, a surprise in the form of four inter-planetary warlords stop by yearly to deliver some holiday cheer.

For those who have never gone to see a marathon live, it’s a lot like this.

That’s why you should always choose a spot near people dressed like Dragon Ball Z villain Freeza to provide you with between-runner entertainment, like this (taken last year):

It’s also a good way to get yourself on national television as these guys were repeatedly spotted this year at the 11.7km mark on the seventh leg of the race.

They have also became popular online with several YouTube videos posted of them.

There is currently a lot of debate online as to Freeza’s entertainment power level but it seems to range somewhere in the millions.  Even after the racers passed, several parents offer up their children to be trained in the ways of being a face-painting super fan like Freeza.

It appeared as though the Freezas are supporting the Nippon Sport Science University, who went on to win the Hakone Ekiden for the first time in 30 years in 2013.

Source: Hachima Kiko (Japanese)
Videos: YouTube pesan22, rafTii, sayaha