translated by Mika Tokairin and edited by Brett Larner
The fatigue is not yet out of his legs. Yuki Kawauchi has only just finished the Dec. 4 Fukuoka International Marathon, where he was the top Japanese finisher and 3rd overall. "I'm still sore," he says. "My thighs and whatnot are still stiff and inflexible." For the whole week after Fukuoka he only jogged lightly in an effort to help his body recover. On Sunday he will run the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon.
Kawauchi doesn't like to have a lot of time between races because he finds the most enjoyment in the race itself. "Without that I get bored. I feel that I have to do this at least once a month," he says. However, this time there are only two weeks in between his full marathons, a very busy schedule. This is the shortest interval he has ever had, and people are telling him, "You're doing too much."
Kawauchi doesn't have time or financial support for his training like corporate team runners, but on the other hand he has freedom as an amateur. He sets his own preparation and racing schedule. With this approach he is now producing results as good as professional runners. "Since I've been able to come this far I hope it shows other amateurs the possibilities for what they can do," he says. "I think I have been inspiring others to work harder."
In Hofu, top Mongolian marathoner Serod Batochir will be going for his second-straight win. 2010 Asian Games marathon gold medalist Youngjun Ji of South Korea and other strong foreign competition are also entered. "With this list of people I think this is the unofficial East Asian Championship," says Kawauchi. He is eager not only for the race itself but also to learn from others and to broaden his knowledge and point of view. "I'd like to ask them about how they train."
After the Hofu Yomiuri Marathon Kawauchi plans to run February's Tokyo Marathon, the next Olympic team selection race. Hofu will be his tenth marathon. In celebration of this anniversary he hopes to be the one to break the finish tape, gaining momentum on his run to the Olympics.
Translator's note: Kawauchi's first marathon was the Feb. '09 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon. Hofu will be his fourth since the beginning of September.