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Tokyo Marathon 3rd Placer Yuki Kawauchi Gives $72,000 BMW Prize to Mother

http://www.news-postseven.com/archives/20110310_14578.html

translated by Brett Larner

The top Japanese and 3rd place overall finisher at the 30,000+ runner Tokyo Marathon on Feb. 27 was "Public Servant Runner" Yuki Kawauchi, 24, an administrative assistant in a Saitama high school. Four days before the race was the seventh anniversary of the death of Kawauchi's father Akio, the director of scouting for a major talent agency. On the Tuesday morning after the marathon Kawauchi told his mother Mika, 46, "I have to tell dad about the race, so I'm going out for a jog," before running to his father's grave.

"I wish my husband could have seen Yuki now," said Mrs. Kawauchi. "He passed away when things were not going well and never got to see any of the improvement Yuki made in university and afterward. But I can feel that he is reaching down from heaven to give Yuki a supportive push from behind."

As the top Japanese man at the Tokyo Marathon, Kawauchi won a top of the line hybrid car from race sponsor BMW worth 6,000,000 yen [~$72,000 U.S.]. After the race he sent an email to his mother, who drives a domestically-manufactured compact car, saying, "I'm giving you the car. From now on you're going to work in a BMW."

His mother was humbled and perplexed by the gift. "I don't know what to do. At our house we only have a parking space for one car, and it would be too big a waste to get rid of the car I always drive. As a parent I'd much rather see him keep it and use it for his own transportation."

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Lexicon

Betsudai - the Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon
daigaku - university
ekiden - a long-distance relay race
faito - a courseside audience cheer; see ganbatte
ganbatte (ganbare) - a courseside audience cheer; see faito
gasshuku - an intensive training camp
Hakone Ekiden - the annual university men`s championships
jitsugyodan - corporate-sponsored professional running teams
onsen - a hot spring
Q-chan - Naoko Takahashi, the 2000 Sydney Olympics women`s marathon gold medalist, Olympic record holder and first woman to break 2:20 in the marathon
rikujo - track and field, the marathon, and other running events
Rikuren - the JAAF
tasuki - the sash which is handed off during an ekiden
zannen - too bad
otaku - a nerdy, socially awkward person, usually male, who is obsessed with some esoteric topic

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Races in Japan usually close entry at least a month beforehand, often much longer. They generally do not have race day entry and race organizers are not willing to make special exceptions for foreigners. If you are coming to Japan for, say, a business trip in two weeks, it is not possible to enter a race. If you are making longer-range plans then it may be possible to find a suitable event using the following services:

Samurai Running Japan is a long-standing entry service that focuses on smaller races to help overseas visitors "experience the 'real' Japan."  Along with entry it assists with accommodations and transportation.

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