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."