translated and edited by Brett Larner
"Civil servant runner" Yuki Kawauchi (25, Saitama Pref.) left for Europe from Narita Airport Oct. 1 to compete as part of the Japanese national team at the Oct. 6 World Half Marathon Championships in Kavarna, Bulgaria. His fourth overseas race this year, this time Kawauchi took a "luxurious" five days of paid vacation for the trip. "I'm very sorry for the trouble my absence will cause at work," Kawauchi said, "so I want to be sure to get good results in this race. My goal is 61 minutes." With a best of 1:02:18 from this February's Marugame Half it is clear that he is determined to set a new personal best time.
Besides the time difference from Japan, getting to the race location Bulgaria requires two airport transfers for a total of 18 hours of travel time. Because he will not be able to do any training during that time, Kawauchi ran for 100 minutes early in the morning before leaving for Narita. The World Half will be his first time running for the national team since last year's Daegu World Championships. "I am deeply honored to have this opportunity," he said. "I want my results to be a credit to the reputation of the Japanese national team and to carry the experience over to the marathon."
Kawauchi hopes to get off on the right foot for his attempt to qualify for next year's Moscow World Championships marathon team at the Dec. 2 Fukuoka International Marathon selection race. In the eight weeks between the World Half Marathon Championships and Fukuoka he plans to run six road races: one marathon, one 30 km and three half marathons. "I want to show up in Fukuoka in great shape," he said.
Translator's note: If Kawauchi succeeds in breaking 62 minutes he will become the 24th Japanese man sub-62 this year. Team Toyota's Chihiro Miyawaki has the fastest time of the year to date and the fastest time on the Japanese World Half squad with a 1:00:53 win in his debut at age 20 at March's National Corporate Half Marathon Championships. Click here for profiles of the Japanese men's and women's World Half Marathon teams.