translated by Brett Larner
Saitama-based amateur runner Yuki Kawauchi, 23, finished 3rd at the Feb. 27 Tokyo Marathon in 2:08:37. The top Japanese finisher, he earned a guaranteed spot on the national team for August's World Championships marathon. As an ordinary amateur runner not belonging to a jitsugyodan corporate team, Kawauchi's titanic run has had a profound impact on Rikuren, the Japanese federation.
Rikuren director Keisuke Sawaki commented, "I think it is quite a major shock to all the established teams to see the limelight shining on a unique runner like Kawauchi."
Rikuren Long Distance and Road Racing Special Committee executive Toshio Kiuchi agreed that Kawauchi's result was a sharp sting to the corporate team system, saying, "This shows that our elite runners have to toughen up and get to work. Back in the day everyone had the kind of hunger Kawauchi showed today."
Team Chugoku Denryoku head coach and Rikuren Director of Men's Marathoning Yasushi Sakaguchi was more defensive, saying, "It's still clear that there are distinct advantages to the corporate team system," but admitted, "this was shock treatment."