An annual ekiden road relay race took an unfortunate turn Oct. 21, when a female runner fractured her leg, then crawled with determination on her bloodied knees for hundreds of meters unaware that her manager had notified officials to have the team drop out. The unusual incident during the long-distance Princess Ekiden qualifying run straddling Munakata and Fukutsu in Fukuoka Prefecture set off not only praise for the woman’s spirit, but also criticism of race staff for failing to withdraw her. After the woman broke her leg, the team’s manager decided to have her drop out of competition. However, the judge concerned could not be immediately reached, according to sources. The runner dragged herself forward on all fours, despite her bleeding knees, for 200 to 300 meters. The next runner waiting for her at the relay point shed tears as she saw her teammate struggling.