An epic solo ekiden that few believed possible.

At the beginning of every year, people across Japan gather around their TV sets to watch the country’s biggest sporting event of the year, a long-distance relay race called Hakone Ekiden.

Students from 20 universities take part in the 200-kilometre (124-mile) long ekiden (long-distance relay race), which takes place over two days on 2 and 3 January, and huge crowds line the streets to support the runners as they make their way from Tokyo to the onsen resort town of Hakone.

This year, though, one man who wasn’t taking part in the race decided to attempt a solo ekiden of his own. It all started with this tweet, which read:

“If this tweet gets 2,000 likes I’ll go from Tokyo to Hakone on a mamachari bicycle to cheer people on at the Hakone Ekiden, and if it gets 5,000 likes, I’ll go via takeuma stilts lol”

A challenge like that doesn’t go unnoticed on Twitter, and after the tweet received more than 5,000 likes in just one hour, @C_Y_B_E_R, who goes by the handle Furatora on social media, found himself dusting off his sporty walking stilts and setting the alarm for an early morning departure on New Year’s Day.

“Happy New Year”

A number of online commenters couldn’t believe he was actually going to go through with the challenge, while others threw their support behind his epic journey. As some doubted whether he would be able to complete the estimated 21-hour long journey, Furatora provided updates throughout the trip.

“Hello everyone. I’m currently dying walking on these stilts in Kanagawa Prefecture.”

“The speed of this stilt race is much slower than I expected, but I’m determined not to be late so there’s no time for grumbling along the way. In a few hours I should be arriving at Isehara.”

“Made it to Odawara Castle!!!!!!!!!”

Then, at 2 a.m., this update:

“Whoooooo! Hakone!!!!!!! Another 14 kilometres to get to the ekiden site!”

“Good morning. Looks like this university banner had been thrown away in a convenience store trash can, so now I look like a total ekiden supporter.”

Hakone Ekiden!!!! Yo, I made it!!!!!!

And just to prove he really did make it to the Hakone ekiden in time, he included this image of himself with the stilts at the sidelines of the race.

Because Furatora didn’t livestream the event or film the entire journey, our jaded minds can’t help but wonder if he really did trek the 100-kilometres from Tokyo to Hakone entirely on stilts. Still, he did include some footage of his slow but steady stiltwalking online.

Furatora maintains that he did complete the journey on stilts, and we have to admit that he does have some credibility, as he made news when he took up the physically demanding challenge of cycling 500 kilometres from Tokyo to Osaka around the same time last year.

Commenters are now hoping that the Furatora solo ekiden might become an annual event, and now that he’s traversed long distances by bike and stilts, we can’t wait to see what ideas he has for his next adventure!

Source: Net Lab
Featured image: Twitter/@C_Y_B_E_R