translated and edited by Brett Larner
Colleagues admire Kawauchi's World Championships team silver medal. Click photo to enlarge.
After finishing 18th at the Sept. 4 World Championships marathon in Daegu, Korea and helping the Japanese national team win a silver medal, Yuki Kawauchi returned to work at Kasukabe High School Sept. 6. Showing up for the first time since the race as usual wearing a backpack over his white dress shirt, Kawauchi was greeted in the office by a round of enthusiastic applause and congratulations from his colleagues. Normally working in the afternoon and evening, Kawauchi arrived at work half an hour earlier than usual. He said that due to intense soreness in his calves and thighs he had only been able to run 30 minutes that morning.
Showing his silver medal to principal Toshio Matsuda, Kawauchi recounted his race. "'You're the pride of Wasimiya Junior High School!' and other messages I had received from children were going around in my head in the second half of the race, and that was what powered me when I was trying to hang on in the last part. The drink that Kasukabe High's nutritionist Koji Nakayama designed for me also became really useful after 30 km."
Principal Matsuda told him, "I think your exposure to the speed and tactical sense of the world-class athletes in this race was an invaluable experience and I hope that it will lead to bigger and better things for you." Kawauchi told his co-workers, "I'm still convinced that the way I've done things so far, training amid other amateurs, is the right way. There are some bitter memories, but looking to the future I want to keep going the same way, and to become a Japanese man who can compete with the rest of the world. If I focus on London it just becomes another pressure. I want to run one race at a time, staying true to my ideals, my theme, in every one of them."