translated by Brett Larner
On Jan. 16 marathoner Yuki Kawauchi (Saitama Pref.), scheduled to run the Jan. 18 Egyptian Marathon, arrived at Narita Airport only to discover that he had forgotten to bring his passport with him. As a result he was unable to board his scheduled 8:50 a.m. flight on Egypt Air and had to make an emergency rebooking on a 10:30 a.m. Qatar Airways flight, still ashenfaced as he boarded.
At 6:50 a.m. Kawauchi looked even more haggard than in the last part of a marathon, having discovered that his passport was missing after he arrived at the airport for check-in. "Oh shit..." he said. Flustered and upset, he called his mother Mika to ask her to get his passport and bring it from their home in Saitama. Unluckily, the train she boarded ended up being delayed.
Kawauchi's original 8:50 a.m. flight was to head to Cairo, where he would transfer to a connecting flight to Luxor. The flight was part of an invitation to run the Egyptian Marathon, an invitation Kawauchi accepted as a tuneup for the Feb. 3 Beppu-Oita Mainichi Marathon, the next domestic selection race for this summer's Moscow World Championships. Race organizers had paid for his flight on Egypt Air, but without his passport that flight was out. He booked an emergency replacement ticket himself on Qatar Airways, departing at 10:30 a.m. and transferring in Doha to a connecting flight to Luxor. With no choice but to buy a full-fare round-trip ticket himself, Kawauchi spent 800,000 yen [~$9000 USD], almost 3 months' salary from his job. "There's nothing I can do about it. It's completely my own fault," he said in a very quiet voice.