Ruy Ueda has successfully run himself into the record books after setting the new fastest-known time for running all of Mount Fuji’s main trails in one stroke.
The 28-year-old Japanese athlete completed the 57.06km with 6,772m of total elevation in 9h 55m 41s.
The ‘Mt. Fuji in One Stroke’ project began from the Fujinomiya Trailhead 5th station at 4.51am local time on Wednesday, July 13.
-Sitting at 3,776m, Mt Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan and one of the country’s ‘Three Holy Mountains’.
The main four routes to the summit are the Fujinomiya, Gotemba, Subashiri and Yoshida trails.
Only two people have previously completed the feat – one a mountaineer who took 23 hours, the other a runner who set the time of 11h 53m 44s.
After blazing up the Fujinomiya climb, Ueda then successfully descended and ascended the Gotemba, Subashiri and Yoshida trails before completing the crater loop for a final descent down Fujinomiya, crossing the finish line at Fujinomiya trail station at 2.46pm local time.
Ueda said: “I’m just really happy to break the record at this symbolic Mt Fuji and surprised myself as well with the time of under ten hours.”
His finishing time shaved almost two hours off the previous mark, earning him a Guinness World Record title for the fastest time to complete all trails on Mt Fuji.
Ueda added: “When thinking about the current situation in the world and what I can do as a trail runner, this ‘Mt. Fuji in One Stroke’ project came to life as a way to showcase Japan’s beauty and turning that into a piece of a content that can be shown around the world. Of course, if people start taking an interest in trail running after seeing this, then that would also be a big win.”
It typically takes the average hiker around ten hours to complete just one of the trails. Hikers are locally referred to as ‘climbers’ in Japan.
In preparation, Ueda travelled to Europe to train with fellow ultrarunner Florian Neuschwander. He also landed podium spots in races in Hochkönig, Austria and Mont Blanc, France.
Ueda said: “I was away for a month to train overseas. Specifically focusing on training at a high altitude. Those training sessions have definitely paid dividends.”
The longer distance than he’s used to, mixed with the unforgiving surfaces and unpredictable weather, made this one of Ueda’s most challenging projects to date.
Ueda was born and raised in Nagano, Japan and he’s regularly competed in the most prestigious high-altitude races in the world since his career begun in 2013.
In 2021, he became the first Asian Skyrunning World Champion after winning the Men’s Vertical Kilometer in Lleida, Spain.